Mead vetoes bill on jobless benefits

Mar 17, 2013 The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Gov. Matt Mead has vetoed a bill he says would have made it easier for employers to deny unemployment benefits to terminated workers.

It's his veto first since taking office more than two years ago.

"There is room for improvement in our statutes related to the qualifications for unemployment compensation," Mead said.

In his veto message to the Sec-retary of State's Office, Mead said the original House Bill 237 could have been interpreted "that in no case would a discharged employee be eligible for unemployment insurance."

Mead blamed problems with the bill on a Senate amendment late in the legislative session that ended last month. He said he looks forward to addressing the issue in the coming legislative session.

Rep. Tom Reeder, the Casper Republican who sponsored the bill, said Friday that he was disappointed with Mead's veto and hoped the Legislature will revisit the issue.

Reeder said he intended the bill to better define the term, "misconduct connected with work," in state law so the state Department of Workforce Services could promulgate rules and policies.

"Employees and employers are more than willing to play by the rules; we just need to have the rules clearly defined," Reeder said.

The bill was amended in the Wyoming Senate to specify that the term "misconduct connected with work" meant action by an employee indicating a disregard of the employer's interests or the "commonly accepted duties, obligations and responsibilities of an employee."

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