A panel of state senators advanced measures Wednesday to make seasonal and part-time workers ineligible to collect unemployment benefits.
The full Senate now will consider the bills.
However, the panel sent back to a subcommittee proposals to require drug testing and volunteer service for those who get jobless checks. The U.S. Department of Labor has said both of those proposals would violate federal law. As a result, neither is expected to advance further toward becoming state law.
A final unemployment-related bill -- to bar those fired for misconducts from collecting unemployment checks -- has been held over by the Senate panel for additional review. That proposal still may have a chance of clearing the committee and going to the full Senate for adoption, said its sponsor, state Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson.
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Bryant and his legislative allies are working to cut the amount that S.C. businesses pay in unemployment claims. They say they want to ensure that only workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own get benefits. Some S.C. business owners have complained that they have had to pay benefits to workers fired for misbehavior, including drinking on the job.
Sue Berkowitz, director of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which advocates for low-income South Carolinians, said she is disappointed the proposal to strip benefits from part-time workers is advancing.
“This is going to have an impact on women and the low-income who have child-care issues,” Berkowitz said. “There are people who can only work part-time.”