State Rep. Andy Holt (R-District 76)

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-District 76)

State Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) focused a lot of time and effort this Session supporting small business owners and helping the unemployed find work faster.

“I sat down to look at our unemployment compensation laws and noted that there were some serious areas that needed to be addressed,” said  Holt. “For example, there was a lot of abuse going on. People were claiming unemployment benefits for sicknesses and gaming the system. Unemployment and short term disability are two very different things. Unemployment insurance is for people who are laid off from work, but our laws left open a lot of loopholes and people were double dipping.”

Holt’s Bill, HB2512, is expected to save the state’s unemployment trust fund in excess of half a million dollars over the next ten years, which will also save business owners a lot of money on their unemployment insurance. Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“When people abuse unemployment, it drives up the costs of goods and services, kills jobs and causes our citizens to have to pay even more taxes,” said Holt. “One thing companies look at when they decide to move to a state is their unemployment laws. This bill will strengthen our laws to make our state even more business friendly, which will bring more jobs to our community. Senator Green and I have both focused a lot on making Tennessee a business friendly state, and we’ve certainly accomplished that with this bill.”

Previous to Holt’s legislation, the state only audited a small number of unemployment claims every month. Now, every single unemployment claim will be audited to check for fraud. In addition, Holt’s and Green’s legislation changes the medical exemption requirement to ensure that fraud is not occurring.

“The State’s labor department is working so hard. They’ve actually already developed a new software that will easily comply with the newly mandated 100% audit requirement. The new system will also link the unemployed with potential employers. It’s a great system,” said Holt. “ When people abuse the safety net, everyone ends up paying the price. When business owners have to pay for fraudulent unemployment claims, consumers pay more for products, employees make less money, fewer companies want to do business in our state, and taxpayers are on the hook for an expanding welfare state. With all the changes we’ve made, I’m confident that consumers, small business owners and employees will benefit in huge ways.”

The bill is awaiting Governor Haslam’s signature.

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