Mullery lauds governor’s urging passage of unemployment compensation bill

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 –  State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Tom Wolf calling for the legislature’s urgent passage of H.B. 549, Mullery’s unemployment compensation legislation.

“I am encouraged to hear the governor’s support and call for lawmakers to pass this important bill to make critical improvements and eliminate the roadblocks thousands of Pennsylvanians are continuing to face when applying for their benefits. These are benefits they are rightfully entitled to and are needed as a means of financial support while searching for a new job. It’s money to put food on the table and pay bills, yet these payments continue to be delayed and frustrations continue to mount. 

“While we approach another legislative session week, it appears quite clear that the majority party once again seems more about appeasing special interest groups as opposed to supporting the hardworking people of Pennsylvania. Fixing the unemployment compensation system has bipartisan support, and we are past time of playing political games. People are struggling, people are hurting, and they need access to the benefits they’re entitled to fast and efficiently.

“It’s my hope that with the renewed attention focused on this critically needed piece of legislation, these changes can be made, and families will be able to get their benefits sooner and not have to worry about how to get their next meal, or if this is their last night with heat or electricity on top of the stress of finding a new job.”

Mullery is the Democratic chairman of the PA House Labor & Industry Committee and introduced the legislation earlier this session. He said he is optimistic that it will gain additional support in the current session.

The governor announced his support for H.B. 549 while discussing his executive order at a news conference Thursday in Pittsburgh. In addition to urging passage of Mullery’s legislation, the governor’s executive order requires companies that receive grants from the Governors’ Action Team to provide their employees with paid sick leave; calls on legislators to pass legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for all PA workers; and calls on lawmakers to pass legislation that would raise the minimum wage.