Spouses of Colorado soldiers want unemployment insurance
DENVER, Colorado Noting that military officers really dont mean it when they ask for volunteers, a Colorado Springs lawmaker wants to change state law and allow spouses of members in the military to collect unemployment insurance when they are forced to relocate.Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, said those spouses and their employers are forced to pay for unemployment insurance, but cant collect it if they are transferred.She said in the military, rejecting a transfer because of financial hardship isnt an option.Theyre forced to relocate. Theyre forced to realize that once youre in the military, they own you, Stephens said.The measure (House Bill 1180) removes a limitation that a transfer must be during time of war or armed conflict and for medical-related purposes in order for an individual who relocates with an active-duty military spouse to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits after paying into the system for a year or more. The bill is expected to be heard in the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday.Stephens said military bases are a major contributor to Colorados economy and the state shouldnt be keeping the money due to contributors. According to Legislative analysts, there were 29,932 active duty military in Colorado in 2006. She said the state expects only 300 or so to claim the benefit each year.Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, who chairs the Joint Budget Committee that sets the states spending priorities, said hes worried that the bill sets a bad precedent, but he still supports it.Its a path Im not sure we should go down, but we should recognize the extreme hardships imposed on the military, he said.Other bills on the calendar this week include: The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday will hear testimony on a bill that would require the preservation of DNA evidence collected during the investigation of a crime. It also would require police to receive training on how to handle DNA evidence. The measure (House Bill 1351) was introduced following several cases in which police and prosecutors mishandled or destroyed DNA evidence in major cases. The Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee on Wednesday will take up a new bill sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, that would make it illegal to deny gays and lesbians everything from an apartment rental to a burial plot. The measure (Senate Bill 200) It takes the states existing anti-discrimination laws and adds sexual orientation to the list of factors, such as race and national origin, that cant be considered.
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