SB2 - Refines various provisions of employment security law
SB 0002 Refines various provisions of employment security law
Sponsor:Russell Co-Sponsor(s)
LR Number:0211S.11T Fiscal Note:0211-11
Committee:Small Business, Insurance & Industrial Relations
Last Action:07/09/03 - Vetoed by Governor Journal page:
Title:SS#2 SS SCS SB 2
Effective Date:August 28, 2003
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Current Bill Summary

SS#2/SS/SCS/SB 2 - This act requires that on a monthly basis the Division of Employment Security cross check Missouri unemployment compensation recipients against available federal and state databases containing new hire and wage information.

Severance pay in all instances shall be considered wages. The act removes subdivision 1 of Section 288.036 which makes an exemption from the definition of "wages" for wages earned in excess of the state taxable wage base as calculated by subsection 2 of the section. The items addressed within the removed provision are addressed in subsection 2 of the section. The state taxable wage base in 2003 shall be $8,000 and for the following years shall be set based on the preceding September 30 balance of the unemployment trust fund, less any outstanding federal advances or state bonds. Should the trust fund on September 30 be below 350 million, employers must pay an additional $1,000. Should the trust fund on September 30 be in excess of 500 million, employers are credited an amount of $500.

Should the unemployment trust fund become insolvent, the maximum weekly benefit an insured worker may receive shall not be increased until two years following such time the fund is again solvent.

A claimant is not ineligible for unemployment benefits even though they are not actively and earnestly seeking work if such failure is because the individual is participating in a state approved drug or alcohol treatment program.

The act changes existing law by not allowing an individual to receive compensation during the waiting week prior to receiving unemployment benefits. Under current law the waiting week is compensable after the 9th compensable week.

The act defines misconduct within Chapter 288, RSMo. Suspension of four or more weeks shall be treated as a discharge.

An offer of suitable work shall be conclusively established if an employer notifies the claimant by any form of certified mail of such an offer. No unemployment benefits or waiting week credit may be collected regardless of severity of offence until the claimant has earned wages equal to eight times the claimants weekly benefit amount if the claimant was discharged for misconduct. If the claimant has been disqualified on more than one occasion within the base period, the claimant shall be required to earn wages in excess of eight times the maximum weekly benefit amount for each disqualification.

The act defines misconduct within Section 288.050.

The act, in Section 288.060, removes the exemption for termination pay, severance pay, and elected officials, thus allowing such to be considered wages under this law.

The act establishes that where the successor of a business was an employer who was subject to a different contribution rate within the year, the division will recalculate as of the date of the acquisition. The recalculation shall apply beginning the 1st day of the next calendar quarter. The successor employer shall use its rate for the quarter in which acquisition was made.

The act adds a provision which states that in addition to the money from the federal government and any money from state bonds issued pursuant to Section 288.330, a fee for the purpose of payment of the principal, interest, and administrative expenses shall be required by each employer. The act sets how the amount is to be determined. For money collected for state bonds pursuant to Section 288.128 the General Assembly must appropriate such money before it may be used to repay such indebtedness. If the General Assembly does not appropriate such funds then the money shall be placed within the special employment security fund.

Such state departments, divisions and agencies that fall under the purview of the Wagner-Peyser Act shall have the power to contract with private entities for the purpose of providing employment and re-employment services.

The act allows money from state bonds issued pursuant to Section 288.330 to go into the state employment security fund and be used as appropriated by the General Assembly.

The act, in Section 288.330, removes the prohibition that the state not issue bonds or otherwise borrow money to pay unemployment benefits. The act defines bond within the subsection. "Bond", shall mean any type of obligation including bond, note, or bond anticipation note or similar instrument issued pursuant to this section. The act creates the Missouri Commission on Employment Security Financing. Further, it sets membership and the commissions powers. Any bonds issued by the Commission must mature no later than ten years after issuance, and the commission may not exceed a total of one hundred million dollars of indebtedness in the issuance of bonds. The Commission shall provide for repayment of bonds, may pledge money for the payment of bonds if the General Assembly appropriates funds for such purpose. The act establishes that bonds issued pursuant to this section are not debts of the state, such bonds are only payable from revenue provided for such payment pursuant to Section 288.330. Further, the subdivision states what must be stated on the bonds. The act states that the state will not limit or alter the rights vested in the Commission to fulfill agreements made with owners of such bonds until the bonds are fully discharged. The Commission may provide for the flow of funds, establishment and maintenance of separate accounts within the special employment security fund. Further, the commission may provide for other necessary actions with respect to the fund and may issue bonds to repay those outstanding bonds. Further, the bonds, transactions related to bonds and profits from such bonds are not taxable by the state or any political subdivision thereof. The Commission may place the proceeds, less issuance costs of bonds in the state unemployment compensation fund and use such funds for the purposes the fund was created for. If the money is not placed immediately in the fund, such money shall be held in the special employment security fund until transferred to the state unemployment compensation fund. The Commission may enter into any contract or agreement necessary or desirable to effect cost effective financing.

The provisions of Section 288.330, when in conflict with other law shall be superior to such conflicting law. Should the state be subject to loss of federal funds available to it, the Commission may administer this subsection in such a way to conform with the federal requirements until the General Assembly has an opportunity to amend this subsection accordingly.

Except as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful for any person in any way associated with the division of unemployment security to make known in any manner, permit the inspection or use of or divulge to anyone any information obtained by an investigation or received from any other governmental entity with respect to employment laws. However, this shall not apply to the disclosure of information by an individual charged with such information's custody or disclosure of such information in a judicial proceeding brought to enforce the employment laws of this state. Any person in violation of this section is guilty of a Class D felony.

This act has an emergency clause.
RICHARD MOORE