HOUSE BILL 215
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Angelica Rubio and Patricia Roybal Caballero
RELATING TO INSURANCE; DIRECTING THE WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS DEPARTMENT TO STUDY AND PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS ON ISSUES RELATED TO PROVIDING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE OR WAGE REPLACEMENT TO UNEMPLOYED WORKERS WHO ARE INELIGIBLE FOR INSURANCE BENEFITS; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. TEMPORARY PROVISIONS--WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS DEPARTMENT--WAGE REPLACEMENT AND INCOME ASSISTANCE STUDY.--
A. As used in this section, "excluded workers" means unemployed workers who are ineligible for state or federal unemployment insurance benefits.
B. The workforce solutions department shall study and prepare a report with recommendations by December 1, 2023 on the feasibility of providing income assistance or wage replacement to excluded workers or workers who have lost employment or income due to the downsizing of an extractive industry. A copy of the report shall be provided to the governor and presented to the sustainable economy task force of the economic development department, the legislative finance committee, the legislative health and human services committee and the revenue stabilization and tax policy committee.
C. The workforce solutions department shall coordinate with relevant state agencies, the office of the governor, nongovernmental organizations, the United States department of labor, organizations that represent workers ineligible for existing unemployment insurance programs and other stakeholders to study and report on the following:
(1) the types of workers who are currently ineligible for unemployment insurance due to immigration status or status as self-employed independent contractors, including undocumented immigrant workers, domestic workers, workers in extractive industries, bona fide self-employed workers in low-wage industries, home health care workers and child care providers;
(2) the costs and potential funding sources to provide excluded workers and workers who recently lost employment or income with unemployment benefits or wage replacement;
(3) with regard to excluded workers:
(a) the reasons excluded workers are excluded from the state's unemployment insurance program, whether legal or otherwise;
(b) the economic insecurity and impact to excluded workers' families and communities;
(c) the legislative or administrative changes needed to include excluded workers in the state's unemployment insurance program;
(d) the eligibility criteria and documents necessary to prove eligibility if the excluded workers were to be included under state law; and
(e) the ways to provide excluded workers with unemployment insurance; and
(4) technological, staffing and administrative costs for the workforce solutions department to expand unemployment benefits to excluded workers and workers who have lost employment or income due to the downsizing of an extractive industry.
D. To ensure involvement of various stakeholders, the workforce solutions department shall hold at least three focus groups in three geographically distinct communities on the study's subject matter to collect different experiences and perspectives from excluded workers. In conducting the study and preparing the report, the department shall incorporate the expertise of external stakeholders, including:
(1) immigrant advocacy organizations;
(2) organizations that represent workers who are currently excluded from the state's unemployment insurance program;
(3) labor unions;
(4) representatives from the business community;
(5) nongovernmental organizations that focus on the economic well-being of the state's low-income families and children; and
(6) organizations that provide services to immigrants who are independent contractors to ensure their economic success and integration.
SECTION 2. APPROPRIATION.--Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the workforce solutions department for expenditure in fiscal year 2024 to study and prepare a report on the opportunities for and barriers to extending unemployment insurance to workers who are currently excluded from unemployment insurance. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2024 shall revert to the general fund.
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