Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lawmaker wants jobless to perform mandatory community service to receive unemployment benefits

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM


State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, is following up his let's-drug-test-the-unemployed legislation with a bill that would require out-of-work folks to volunteer 24 hours each week if they want to receive a benefits check.

According to a press release from the Senate about the proposal (known as the "Dignity for the Unemployed Act"), Georgians would be able to receive unemployment benefits so long as:

o Individual makes a claim and has been unemployed or employed less than full time during the regular work week and has recorded his/her deductible earnings
o The individual has registered for work and has continued to report to an employment office as required by regulations prescribed by the commissioner
o The individual is able to work, is available to work, and is actively seeking work in the labor market
o The individual has participated in reemployment services, such as job search assistance services
o The individual is willing to work under the same general terms and conditions as existed since the beginning of the base period
o The individual has been paid sufficient wages for insured work to qualify for a weekly benefit
o The individual has performed at least 24 hours of service per week, either paid or unpaid, for a nonprofit charitable organization

Albers and state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, say the proposal would give the unemployed a chance to improve their communities, learn valuable skills, and network with possible job contacts. The state Labor Commissioner would have the option of waiving requirements in certain cases, Albers said, in which compliance "would be oppressive or inconsistent with existing law." Nowhere in the legislation, that we saw, is anything about assisting with the cost of transportation.

“At the heart of welfare is the notion that government is responsible for the prosperity and success of our lives,” Albers said in a statement. “It is not. Government is responsible for providing the environment and helping people when needed with a 'hand up' and not a 'hand out.'”

Requiring community service to receive state assistance seems to be all the rage among Southern conservatives, as similar legislation was introduced earlier this year in both Florida and North Carolina. (The proposal in the Sunshine State, which died in committee, only required four hours each week.)

So, in addition to peeing in a cup and filling out job applications that head straight for the trash bin, Georgia's unemployed would be required to fill up their gas tank to drive to the local animal shelter, where they will scoop dog poop. Or they can just go pick crops in south Georgia. Pretty soon Georgia's unemployment rate will drop simply because the jobless have been pestered into leaving. Brilliant!

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