News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2007
Contact:Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

Senate Business and Commerce Committee Approves SB 142 by Zaffirini to Improve Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits

(AUSTIN) -- The Senate Business and Commerce Committee today (April 3) unanimously recommended passage of Senate Bill 142 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would make less burdensome the list of required evidence of eligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provided to victims of stalking or family violence.

"Because it is difficult for a victim of domestic violence or stalking to obtain multiple forms of evidence and because some judges in certain counties rarely issue protective orders, the multiple eligibility requirements for UI make it difficult for many victims to access benefits," Senator Zaffirini said. "This bill would allow victims to present only one form of evidence regarding the violence they are suffering in order to obtain easily the benefits needed to support themselves and their families while evading potentially dangerous domestic situations."

In 2003 the legislature passed legislation that allows persons who must leave their job to protect themselves from family violence or stalking to be eligible for unemployment compensation. Victims must substantiate the existence of family violence by providing three pieces of evidence, including an active or recently issued protective order documenting family violence or stalking of the employee; a police record documenting family violence against, or the stalking of, the employee; and a physician's statement or other medical documentation of family violence against an employee.

SB 142 would make persons eligible for UI benefits if they left the workplace for protection against family violence or stalking and are able to provide only one of the three forms of evidence mandated by the 2003 legislation.

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