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If Unemployment Bill Passes, Employers, Employees May Benefit

Appealing for unemployment compensation could become more a more localized process, if a bill making its way through the Florida Senate becomes law. The bill would create 24 regional offices where employees could appeal their rejected unemployment claims.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice), says it’s aimed at cutting out bureaucracy from the process of collecting unemployment benefits. The roughly 120,000 Floridians who appeal for their benefits each year would be appealing to their local peers rather than to a state agency far away.

Also, the bill would protect employers by clearly outlining reasons why employees would become ineligible for their benefits, such as committing crimes outside work.

“If you robbed the jewelry store after 5, and you only work for me from 9 to 5, it was outside your work period, and I have nothing to do with the rest of your life," Detert explained.

Finally, the bill would change the name "unemployment compensation" to "re-employment insurance."

The bill passed out of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday. It goes next to the appropriations committee.