TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kansas advanced a new proposal Friday to put $450 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government into the state’s unemployment program to help cover losses from fraudulent claims.
GOP members of the House commerce committee included the measure in a bill aimed at overhauling the unemployment system and giving lawmakers more control over an upgrade of computers at the state’s Department of Labor. The committee approved the bill on a voice vote, sending it to the full House for debate, possibly as early as next week.
The Department of Labor’s problems in keeping up with a flood of filings for benefits from jobless workers and combatting bogus ones have emerged as a major issue since last summer. GOP lawmakers are worried that employers, who pay taxes to finance unemployment benefits, will be on the hook to cover fraudulent claims and that the state will be forced to cut parts of its budget if it tries to protect employers.