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Senate | February 18, 2015 | Chamber | Senate Session

Full MP3 Audio File

The Senate will come to order. The sergeant at arms will close the doors. Members will go to their seats. Members and guests in the gallery please silence all electronic devices. Leading the Senate in prayer is the Reverend Peter Milner, Senate Chaplain. All members and guests in the gallery please stand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Please bow your heads in prayer. Almighty God whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible, order this day, these hours, these soldiers so that we might see, we cannot see, Lord, and we often carry around thick burdens. It's hard to love our neighbors as ourselves. We've forgotten how to love you, oh Lord. All of us are in need of your grace today. We need a place to dwell from the cold of this world in safety, in the shadow of your wings. Lord, so that we might dwell in a place where arrows that fly by day and pestilence that walks around the darkness find no place, and so I pray that we might dwell in the shadow of your wing this day as we move forward together as a legislative family. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Berger is recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. The journal of Tuesday, February 17, 2015 has been examined and found to be correct. I move that we dispense with the reading of the journal and that it stand approved as written. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection the journal for February 17th stands approved as written. Senators we have leaves of absence granted today for Senators Tucker and Bingham and we have one item on our calendar today, Senators. We have a public bill second reading roll call bill. Senate Bill 15, the clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 15, Unemployment Insurance Law Changes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho is recognized to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President and members of the Senate. Senate Bill 15 was put together 15, 16 and 7 all UI, unemployment insurance changes and I'll just briefly go over some of the areas that were changed. We had a very good discussion and a lot of great questions during the finance committee and I believe every question was answered, but part one of the bill, which enhance program integrity and it helps with GDAC and the DES, Division of Employment Security, to better identify the individuals that may or may not be eligible for benefits. It seems in the past the Division of Employment Security tended to just make a payment and then have to spend man hours, a lot of revenue, to try to recover it if it wasn't accurate or if the amount was not correct, so this will move in the direction of improving their efficiency in getting the correct amount of benefit to the individual that indeed deserves it. Section two or part two dealt with some of the issues that were not able to be completed during the short session and they include the Division of Motor Vehicles disclose Social Security numbers to DES to verify employer and claimant identity requires UI claimants to contact five potential employer a week which helps the beneficiary to better understand what their responsibility is and allow them to efficiently look to find a suitable job. Eliminate procedures to request reconsideration of the DES decisions. This was a redundancy in the appeals process that allows for a more efficient management of any claims that are up for appeal and it also goes well in line with our commission which is the independent commission, who's away from DES completely, to allow the beneficiary to have a fair and just hearing, an impartial hearing as to whether or not they should or should not get the benefit that was set forth. We're talking about allowing garnishment

To credit cards of delinquent taxpayers. There is a requirement of a photo identification which is there to codify existing agency practice and allows our professional employees of DES to be assured of the fact that they are indeed giving that beneficiary or the correct beneficiary the benefit that they may deserve. We're talking about extension of deadline adoption rules, which the division of employment security has been working very diligently in trying to get those through the rules review commission. And then part three we're, we have the clear understanding of what is involved with the, the oversight commission, the in division review board, which is the oversight commission on the employer, excuse me, the beneficiary's, the beneficiary's claims. This has been designed just like the utility commission, the banking commission, and the industrial commission where they allowed for staggered terms, which was something that was omitted originally. We tried to correct it last year. It couldn't get completed, so this year we're trying to set the staggered terms up and, of the board of review, and then also ratify their past unemployment appeals decisions so that everything will work as it should in completed format. There are three other companion bills that will go to another committee, but those are for the confirmation process of the three members of the, of the board of review, and that is not for this bill. Mister President, I hope that clearly explains what this bill does. It is a good bill, and we hope to move it forward. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator. We have any discussion or debate? Senator Smith-Ingram, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President, I rise to see if Senator Rucho will yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, ma'am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho, can you give me any background on to, as to why the number of contacts was increased from two contacts to five contacts? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think, if I'm not mistaken, it mostly deals with the fact that it was two contacts over a certain amount of days, and apparently this is a more, or a fairer way for those beneficiaries that are out looking for a job to actually get it done in a, in a week's period of time. That's my best recollection about that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Mister President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, you have the floor to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] In terms of cleaning up the integrity that Senator Rucho explained with the bill, I can understand that, but when I look at the counties that I represent where the unemployment rates all exceed the state unemployment rate of 7.5%. You have Bertie at 10.3. You have Edgecombe County at 13.0. You have Washington County at 9.5, and Washington County, one of the eight counties that I serve, does not have an unemployment center. Bertie County has a population that has 30% internet access. I'm not sure all of the, what all goes into making this contact of five, but in your rural counties east of I-95, it is very difficult. Number one, you don't have that many employment centers. Number two, you have all eight counties that are tier one counties being economically distressed, and they are that way because of the job market and their limited job and employment opportunities there. I think it is overly burdensome to raise that number from two contacts to five contacts and I want to know if you're amenable to an amendment to at least take it down to three or four. Okay. I, I accept that, but you do realize that that places a burden, an unusual burden for those people who live in areas where there is no transportation. We don't have public transportation in any of the eight counties. There's a CPTA van that will transport people for their health services, but outside of that, there's limited transportation. It is overly burdensome. I would ask my colleagues who represent areas of counties that have the similar demographics that mine have. If you would consider the unemployed, and you're kicking people when they are down, and I don't know if that makes you feel good about yourself or not. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of the committee substitute Senate bill 15 on its second reading. All in favor will vote aye. Opposed will vote no.

Five seconds will be allowed for the voting. The clerk will record the vote. 42 having voted in the affirmative and six in the negative, Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 15 passes its second reading. It will remain on the calendar. Do we have any notices or announcements for the day. Senator Apodaca for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, a motion, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca has the floor for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, currently Senate Bill 2 is in Judiciary 1. I move that it be removed form J1 and rereferred to Judiciary 2. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection so ordered. Any other notices or announcements? Any other business to come before the Senate? If not, the chair recognizes, Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, I have a quick announcement, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca has the floor for an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Ways and Means committee will not be meeting this week. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To ask Senator Apodaca a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] In the event you do meet do you promise to take up the bills in ways and means. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho, for what purpose do you rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca would yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca when you do bring that committee along, would you please be kind enough to make sure that Senator Jeff Jackson, you know, is available for that committee meeting. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh, absolutely Senator, we won't do it without him and I hope Senator Danley can come back and join us as honorary co-chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To see if Senator Apodaca will yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One more, Mr. President. It's my fault. I understand that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, in the last decade has the Ways and Means Committee ever met because I don't ever recall a meeting. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Not to my knowledge, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further business to come before the Senate? If not the chair will recognize Senator Berger for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. I move that the Senate do now adjourn subject to the standard stipulations set forth in Senate Rule 24.1 to reconvene on Thursday February 19, 2015 at 11:00 AM. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The motion is the Senate do now adjourn subject to the standard stipulations to reconvene Thursday, February 19th at 11:00 AM. Seconded by Senator Daniel. All in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All opposed, no. The ayes have it. The Senate stands adjourned.