The Missouri Supreme Court recently struck down a law that limited maximum unemployment benefits to 13 weeks. The law which had been vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon in May 2015 was overridden by the State Legislature. The law, which tied benefit duration to the State’s unemployment rate, had been in effect since January 2016. As a result of a 4 to 3 ruling, the State’s unemployment benefits will return to a maximum of 20 weeks.
The Legislature’s objective in passing the law was to limit maximum benefits, which in turn would help shore up a deflated unemployment benefits trust fund. Their rationale for constructing the law as they did was based on the belief that as economic conditions improve and as the unemployment rate goes down, the duration needed for unemployment benefits also decreases. The Court found that the timing of the legislatures overturning of the veto was illegal and thus the Governor’s veto was reinstated, returning maximum benefits to 20 weeks.
Legislatures opposing the recent court ruling have vowed to readdress this issue with new legislation as soon as 2017.