Big Changes Proposed For Michigan’s Unemployment Benefits Agency
Michigan State Senators including Battle Creek Republican John Bizon are reviewing proposed legislation to initiate wide-ranging reforms to shore up Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. The key state agency of the Whitmer administration has been in the midst of troublesome issue after issue since the COVID-19 virus outbreak got underway early last year.
Many of the issues haven’t gone away. A forensic audit of the department’s problems conducted by Deloitte LLP brought many things to light. Enough so that an internal Whitmer administration communication about the findings was publicly released. The audit findings were among the items reviewed by Michigan State Senators as they worked to overcome the serious and very expensive faults.
Senator Ken Horn of Frankenmuth was directing that legislative review. He chairs the key State Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee, which led the upper chamber's investigation. Now, Senator Horn is proposing a series of bills to address the critical issues. Not the least of which is an estimated better than $1 billion that was sent out by the agency to fraudulent claimants.
“This is just the first step in what will be an ongoing process. The legislation outlines our priorities and what reforms are still necessary. There are states that are doing a really good job managing their unemployment claims and we need to study the best practices that are out there. I will be having discussions with the department, UIA leadership and stakeholders over the summer. We’ll continue to dive deeper on what improvements need to be made so that the agency can better serve Michiganders.”
The state legislative summer break is coming up so there’s little time for the Senate to move immediately on the legislation. But most senators will be pouring over the details while on break.