Bill Text: MS HB490 | 2014 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Self-employment assistance program; create.

Status: (Failed) 2014-02-04 - Died In Committee [HB490 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2014-HB490-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2014 Regular Session

To: Workforce Development; Appropriations

By: Representative Hines

House Bill 490

AN ACT TO CREATE THE "SELF-EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM ACT"; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS FOR THE PROGRAM; TO AUTHORIZE A WEEKLY BENEFIT TO BE PAID TO PERSONS WHO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE THAT THE AGGREGATE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING THE ALLOWANCE UNDER THIS SECTION AT ANY TIME SHALL NOT EXCEED FIVE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING REGULAR BENEFITS; TO CREATE THE SELF-EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM STEERING COMMITTEE; TO PROVIDE DUTIES FOR THE COMMITTEE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Self-Employment Assistance Program Act."

     SECTION 2.  (1)  As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

          (a)  "Executive director" means the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

          (b)  "Self-employment assistance activities" means

activities, including entrepreneurial training, business counseling, technical assistance and any other requirements that are promulgated or otherwise approved in the rules and regulations set by the executive director, and also includes any activities by an individual who is identified through an established system that is consistent with the system requirements of Section 303(j)(1)(A) of the Social Security Administration, as an individual who is likely to exhaust regular unemployment benefits, and who participates in the program for the purpose of establishing a business and becoming self-employed.

          (c)  "Self-employment assistance allowance" means an allowance that is payable in lieu of and on the same schedule as regular benefits, and from the unemployment fund established under Section 71-5-451, to an individual participating in self-employment assistance activities and who meets the requirements of this section.

          (d)  "Regular benefits" means benefits payable to an individual under Chapter 5, Title 71, Mississippi Code of 1972, including benefits payable to federal civilian employees and to ex-service members pursuant to 5 USCS Chapter 85, and excluding emergency unemployment benefits and extended benefits.

          (e)  "Full-time basis" means the same as the term, "full-time basis," as defined in regulations prescribed by the executive director who has authority to set, modify and rescind such regulations as are required for the proper and efficient administration of this act.

          (f)  "MDES" means the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

          (g)  "SEAP" means the Self-Employment Assistance Program for purposes of this section.

     (2)  The weekly allowance payable under this act to an individual shall be equal to the weekly benefit amount for regular benefits otherwise payable under Section 71-5-503.  The sum of the allowance paid and regular benefits paid under this act with respect to any benefit year shall not exceed the maximum benefit amount established by Section 71-5-507, with respect to such benefit year.

     (3)  The allowance described in subsection (2) of this section shall be payable to an individual at the same interval, on the same terms, and subject to the same conditions as regular benefits, with the following exceptions:

          (a)  The requirements of Section 71-5-511 relating to the availability for work, active search for work, and refusal to accept work are not applicable to such individual;

          (b)  The requirements of Section 71-5-505 relating to other earnings are not applicable to income earned from self-employment by such individual;

          (c)  An individual who meets the requirements of this section shall be considered to be unemployed under Chapter 5, Title 71, Mississippi Code of 1972; and

          (d)  An individual who fails to participate in self-employment assistance activities or who fails to actively engage on a full-time basis in activities, which may include training, relating to the establishment of a business and becoming self-employed shall be disqualified for any such week in which the failure occurs.

     (4)  The aggregate number of individuals receiving the allowance under this section at any time shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the total number of individuals receiving regular benefits as defined in Section 71-5-541.

     (5)  (a)  There is created the Self-Employment Assistance Program Steering Committee.  The committee shall consist of nine (9) members, which shall include one (1) representative from each of the following organizations:

               (i)  Mississippi Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business;

               (ii)  Mississippi Manufacturers Association;

               (iii)  Mississippi Economic Council;

               (iv)  Mississippi Development Authority;

               (v)  Delta Citizens Alliance;

               (vi)  Mississippi Small Business Development Center;

               (vii)  Mississippi Minority Business Alliance;

               (viii)  Mississippi Department of Employment Security executive director or designee; and

               (ix)  One (1) person to be appointed by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. 

          (b)  Each person appointed to the committee shall have equal voting rights.  The Chairpersons of the House Labor Committee and the Senate Labor Committee shall be appointed as ex-officio members to serve in an advisory capacity without voting rights.

     (6)  The steering committee shall adopt the initial rules of operation for the SEAP program, which shall be administratively adopted and enforced by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.  The rules created by the committee shall include the continuing role of the steering committee.

     (7)  The Executive Director of MDES shall cause regulations adopted by the SEAP Steering Committee appointed under this section to be adopted by the MDES and the executive director may adopt other regulations as necessary for proper administration of this section.

     (8)  Allowances paid under this section shall be noncharged to employers as provided under the provisions of this chapter relating to the noncharging of regular benefits as defined in Section 71-5-541, and shall be used in the computation of the annual unemployment tax rate as noncharges for receipt of unemployment benefits paid by this act.  Noncharging provisions do not apply to unemployment compensation for federal employees, unemployment compensation for ex-servicemen or unemployment compensation paid to individuals based upon their wages earned with reimbursing employers, except as allowed by Section 71-5-357(b)(4).  If federal regulations allow changes to noncharging provisions associated with the SEAP, regulations may be adopted by the SEAP Steering Committee to make such changes as are reasonable and appropriate to the Mississippi program and the charging or noncharging of SEAP benefits.

     (9)  Nothing in this section or the rules adopted related to this or any other part of Chapter 5, Title 7, Mississippi Code of 1972, adopted by the Executive Director of the MDES is intended to be inconsistent with laws and regulations prescribed by the United States Department of Labor, or Chapter 5, Title 7, Mississippi Code of 1972.  Any provision of this act that is determined not to be in conformity with United States Department of Labor regulations and applicable federal and state laws will not be enforced until such time as the deficiencies can be remedied.

     (10)  The provisions of this section will apply to weeks beginning after the first Saturday in July 2013, or weeks beginning after any plan required by the United States Department of Labor is approved by such department, whichever date is later. The authority provided by this section shall terminate as of the end of the week preceding the date when federal law no longer authorizes the provisions of this section, unless such date is a Saturday in which case the authority shall terminate as of such date.

     SECTION 3.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2014.

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