Wisconsin GOP express frustration with Wisconsin Unemployment Office

Picture: MGN
Picture: MGN(KKTV)
Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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Several Wisconsin lawmakers have revealed a call to action to help Wisconsinites get unemployment benefits.

But, not all Wisconsin lawmakers agree on what they want to see happen and why the process is taking so long. Between March 15th and June 6th, the Department of Workforce Development says it received more than 600,000 unemployment claims. Of those claims, more than 15% are stuck in the "in-process" stage. Representative Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington) says that number is unacceptable.

“All we want from the agency is more urgency and more action. This is a call to action,” Petryk says. “This is where the state can step up and really provide some financial help in the form of unemployment insurance.”

While Petryk says this is a call to action, local Senator Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) says state Democrats been waiting for a different kind of call.

“I find it really interesting that we have members of the majority party, who have been the majority party for the last decade, now calling for action,” Smith says. “I'm sitting in my house waiting for a call to action from the Republican Party because we can't do anything until they call us in for a session.”

In an effort to speed up the claims process, legislators on both sides of the aisle passed Act 185, which gave the department of workforce development the ability to transfer state employees from other departments to help the DWD handle the influx of cases.

“It allowed all the latitude that the governor and his agencies needed to have to spend and delegate the federal funds,” says Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls). "It wasn't but two weeks ago they got a call system up and running, that is disheartening to say the least."

In response to Senator Smith , Representative Petryk says, “Thankfully members like myself and my majority colleagues are being proactive to help our constituents and not sitting around waiting to act. We passed the law that gives DWD the tools to solve this crisis and we will continue to speak up until they use those tools for the benefit of the people and families of our districts.”

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