The state Senate on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would stagger terms of an unemployment review panel, undoing a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory last year.
The Senate made quick work of the bill, approving it 42-6 after a short debate. The bill faces a procedural vote in the Senate before moving to the House.
Senate Bill 15 would have the three employment Board of Review members serve staggered four-year terms. The term of Keith Holliday, a Democrat and former Greensboro mayor, would expire June 30.
McCrory vetoed a bill last year that had called for reducing and staggering terms on the board, which rules on appeals of unemployment benefit decisions.
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McCrory had criticized the panel as unnecessary and a waste of money, and his spokesman echoed that view on Wednesday.
“These proposed changes to the Board of Review are not only an example of legislative overreach; they also waste taxpayer dollars on an unaccountable and bloated bureaucracy,” McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said in a statement.
Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County said during the Senate debate that the Banking Commission, the Utilities Commission and other state boards have staggered terms for members. The legislation seeks to do the same for the Board of Review, he said.
There was some opposition about another part of the bill, which would require unemployed people to make five job contacts with potential employers each week. That’s up from two.
Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, a Democrat from Gaston, said the eastern counties she represents have higher unemployment rates than the state average.
“Consider the unemployed,” she said. “You are kicking people when they’re down.”