The House Democrat Review is a weekly feature that gives Tennesseans an in-depth look at what our Democratic state legislators have been working on this week, and a glimpse into what’s planned for the coming week at our state house. This week:
House Democrats sponsor bill to let unemployed go back to school
Legislation allows laid off workers to retain unemployment benefits while going back to school
NASHVILLE – On Thursday, State Representative Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville), along with all present members of the Tennessee House of Representatives, voted to give laid off Tennesseans the ability to go back to school without losing their unemployment.
“There are tens of thousands of Tennesseans who have lost their jobs during this economic slowdown and currently they can’t go back to school without losing the one thing keeping them from being out on the street,” said Pitts. “We should be helping these people retrain for the jobs of tomorrow, not forcing them to choose between a roof over their head or the classes they need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.”
Under the legislation sponsored by State Representatives Joe Towns (D-Memphis), G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) and Henry Fincher (D-Cookeville), a person who is currently receiving unemployment benefits due to losing their job would not be denied those benefits if they choose to go back to college while they continue their search for new employment.
“We have people of every age and background no longer able to find work because their skills don’t match the available jobs,” said Pitts. “This legislation allows people to gain the skills they need without having to sacrifice the only source of income available to them.”
The bill passed the House unanimously 96-0 and will now wait on the Senate to take action on the measure. Earlier this month the bill was placed in the General Subcommittee of Commerce, Labor and Agriculture. The United States Congress is also slated to take up similar legislation later this year.