Redraft 20

Unemployment Insurance Special Commission

Mr. Ross moved that the bill be amended by inserting, after Section__, the following new Section:-

“SECTION 16A. (a) There shall be a special commission to conduct an investigation and study of the activities and efficacy of the adjudication of unemployment insurance claims by the department of unemployment assistance. The commission shall consist of the following 11 members: 2 members appointed by the state auditor, both of whom shall have experience with the adjudication of unemployment disputes and 1 of whom shall serve as the chair; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on labor and workforce development; 1 member of the senate or their designee, who shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; 1 member of the house of representatives or their designee, who shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; the director of the department of unemployment assistance, or a designee; the president of the Massachusetts Taxpayer’s Foundation, or a designee; the executive vice-president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, or a designee; an executive vice-president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, or a designee; and the executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, or a designee.

(b) The study shall include, but shall not be limited to : (1) the number of claims received by the department of unemployment assistance quarterly since January 1, 2010 and the resulting status of each claim, including, but not be limited to (i) the results of any initial determination about the claim, (ii) the results of any appeal from the initial determination, (iii) the number of rulings reversed through the appeals and review process, (iv) the number of claims arising under clauses (1) and (2) of subsection (e) of section 25 of chapter 151A of the General Laws and (v) the number of claims settled in favor of the claimant and in favor of the employer;

(2) the average length of time of the appeal and review process from initial determination to final disposition;

(3) the procedures used by the department to hire and train new employees who implement sections 39 through 41, inclusive, of said chapter 151A, including a determination as to whether or not employment procedures, under section 9K of chapter 23 of the General Laws, have been followed; and

(4) Recommendations of the commission relative to: (i) procedures through which the department may produce a quarterly report of the number of active claims and the status of said claims to be posted on the department’s website; (ii) procedures through which any current backlog of cases may be fairly and efficiently resolved and avoided in future department proceedings; (iii) procedures through which oversight and quality control principles may be implemented to ensure the continuing prompt, equitable and transparent application of current law by the commissioner and the board of review; (iv) a complete review of the current statutes and regulations relative to the implementation of chapter 151A of the General Laws and any recommendations as to possible legislative reforms and streamlined procedures, including, but not limited to, recommendations and procedures for the uniform and effective implementation of section 25 of said chapter 151A.

(c) The commission may request from all state agencies such information and assistance as the commission may require. The commission shall report the results of its investigation and study, together with drafts of legislation, if any, necessary to carry out its recommendations, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, who shall forward the same to the joint committee on labor and workforce development and the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before December 31, 2014. The report shall be made available to the public on the general court’s website. ”