RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers have shelved a pair of bills that would have given unemployment claimants half as much time to file an appeal with a state agency still struggling with pandemic-related cases.
A Senate panel on Monday voted unanimously to pass by the legislation, which had been pitched as a way to improve efficiencies at the Virginia Employment Commission, an agency that struggled to keep up with legitimate claims at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and was swamped with fraudulent ones. A House committee tabled a companion measure last week.
“I think a lot of legislators looked closely at this and didn’t see how it would expedite the process. And, to be frank, I can’t see how it would expedite the process,” said Flannery O’Rourke, an attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, which had opposed the measures.
The legislation, sponsored by Republican Del. Wendell Walker in the House and Democrat John Bell in the Senate, was introduced on behalf of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration.
It would have reduced from 30 days to 15 days the amount of time a claimant has to file an appeal after receiving a “notice of determination” of a claim before the determination would become final.