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Agenda Item IV - Federal and State Legislative Update

Chair:We will now have the subject matter of Federal and State Legislative Update by Cynthia Jones, our Administrator of the Employment Security Division, Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.  Thank you.

Jones:Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Council Members and guests.  My name is Cindy Jones; I’m the Administrator of the Employment Security Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.  Welcome and I thank you for participating in today’s Employment Security Council Meeting and regulation workshop.  At this time, I’d like to provide you with a brief federal and state legislative update.  The Division has proposed one bill for consideration during the upcoming Nevada Legislative Session.  Changes to NRS Chapter 612, Sections 490, 500 and 520 are requested in order to align statutory authority with current practices and clarify the authority of the Administrator in accordance with the Attorney General’s opinion issued in 1995.  Further, through an additional amendment to Section 490, the Division is also requesting authority to enter into interlocal agreements with other public agencies pursuant to NRS 277 to conduct unemployment insurance benefit appeal hearings on its behalf.  The purpose of doing so is to ensure both workers and employers who appeal a decision of the Agency are afforded the opportunity to have a full and fair hearing, in a timely manner, during periods where demand for such exceeds the capacity of the Agency’s appeal section.  Lastly, the Agency is also requesting to amend NRS 612, Section 551 to clarify language regarding the non-charging of an employer’s experience record under this provision, to apply to the last or next to last employer, when an individual leaves employment to accept other work and later becomes unemployed, as reflected during testimony on Assembly Bill 297 during the 1997 legislative session.  On the federal front, Workforce Investment Act, or WIA, has yet to be reauthorized.  Legislation to reauthorize WIA was approved by the House and by the Senate.  Neither version of these bills incorporate the administration’s proposal for self-directed career enhancement accounts.  Differences between the House and Senate versions have yet to be resolved.  The House and Senate are not expected to select conferees for conference and negotiations until a compromise is reached on issues such as faith-based funding and funding stream consolidation.  The chances of reauthorization of WIA occurring this congressional session are slim, at this point.  If Congress fails to reach a compromise on the bill to reauthorize WIA by the end of this year, the process will have to start over again during the 110th Congressional Session.  The Department of Labor is also seeking Congressional support for initiatives promoting unemployment insurance payment and tax integrity.  And DOL’s proposed legislation to assist states in preventing, identifying and collecting unemployment insurance overpayments.  The Department of Labor is also seeking to expand the reemployment and eligibility assessment program which reviews unemployment insurance beneficiaries’ need for reemployment assistance and continuing eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits through in-person interviews in One Stop offices.  Through a pilot initiative, Nevada is

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