Governor LePage Signs Emergency Unemployment Legislation

February 18, 2011

7,100 Unemployed Mainers Now Eligible for Extended Benefits

Augusta, Maine – Maine Governor Paul LePage signed Emergency Unemployment Legislation today that extends benefits for as many as 7,100 unemployed Mainers. The legislation, which takes effect immediately, is expected to make an additional $19.5 million in federal unemployment benefits available to Mainers through the end of 2011. The legislation signed by the Governor extends benefits for some who have reached the end of their eligibility. For others still receiving benefits, the extension provides piece of mind and additional time to find work.

“The goal has to be a strong economy that offers employment for all who are able, but I am pleased that Maine can continue to provide extended benefits to thousands of Mainer’s still struggling to find work,” said Maine Governor Paul LePage. “I compliment the Legislature for the quick, bipartisan work that went into getting this bill to my desk.”

State Senator Chris Rector (R-Knox County) was the sponsor of the extension legislation and co-chairs the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee that heard the bill. “I hear every day from people who are out of work and frustrated. We worked hard and we worked together to get this done so people facing the end of the line on benefits have more time to find a job,” added Senator Rector.

State Representative Kerri Prescott (R-Topsham) is the House Chair of LCRED. “"I'm very proud of the work that was done to get this passed. The LCRED Committee, as well as Governor LePage and his staff, showed true leadership making sure this critical aid gets out to the people of Maine that need it most.” said Representative Prescott.

BACKGROUND: LD 224, An Act to Provide Temporary Changes to the Extended Benefit Triggers in Accordance with the Federal Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, temporarily changes Maine law to reflect a change in the formula that determines when the federal-state unemployment extended benefits program “triggers on.” LD 224 was passed to be enacted by the Maine House and Senate on February 17, 2011 as an emergency.

The federal legislation passed the U.S. Congress on December 17, 2010 and continues the full federal funding of the extended unemployment benefits program through December 31, 2011. The Maine Department of Labor estimates that $19.5 million in federal support will be provided to Maine beneficiaries as a result of this legislative action.