AN ACT TO RATIFY PAST UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEALS DECISIONS, TO AMEND THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR THE BOARD OF REVIEW, AND TO CREATE STAGGERED TERMS FOR MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF REVIEW, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE.
Provides that decisions issued in an appeal by a party to a decision of an appeals referee or hearing officer that were issued by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Division of Employment Security or by the Secretary of Commerce’s designee, as well as decisions issued by the three individuals appointed by the Governor in December 2013 to serve on the Division of Employment Security’s (DES) Board of Review (Board), are validated and are given the same legal effect as if they had been issued by the Board. Effective when the act becomes law and applies to decisions rendered on or after November 1, 2011.
Repeals GS 96-4(b) and Section 21 of SL 2013-224, both of which concern the DES Board of Review and the appointment process.
Enacts new GS 96-15.3, Board of Review, expounding on the appointment process for the Board. Establishes the Board of Review to determine appeals policies and procedures as well as to hear appeals arising from decisions and determinations of DES. Directs the Department of Commerce (Commerce) to assign staff to the Board. Requires the Board and its staff to perform job responsibilities independent of the Governor, the General Assembly, Commerce, and DES but in accordance with any written guidance issued by the US Department of Labor.
Establishes that the Board consists of three members, serving staggered four-year terms, with one member each classified as a representative for either employees, employers, or the public. Provides that the member serving as a representative for the general public will be the chair of the Board and is required to be a licensed attorney in North Carolina.
Provides that appointments to the Board are to be made by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly by joint resolution. Requires the Governor to submit the name of the individual nominated to the Board to the General Assembly for confirmation on or before May 1 of the year of the expiration of the term. Provides that if the General assembly does not confirm the appointment by May 30, the office will be considered vacant and will be subject to being filled in accordance with specified procedures. When vacancies arise when the General Assembly is in session, the Governor must submit the name of the appointee to fill the vacancy within 30 days after the vacancy arises to the General Assembly for confirmation. If the appointment is not confirmed within 30 days the office will be considered vacant and the Governor must resubmit a name for confirmation. However, the Governor cannot resubmit the same nominee that the General Assembly did not confirm.
For vacancies arising when the General Assembly is not in session, the Governor must appoint someone to the office on an interim basis, pending confirmation by the General Assembly. Once the General Assembly is in session, the Governor must submit the name of the interim appointee within 14 days of the date the General Assembly convenes.
Provides that if the Governor fails to submit a name for appointment in a timely manner, regardless of if it occurs while the General Assembly is in Session, then the General Assembly can appoint an individual to the vacancy in accordance with GS 120-121. Specifies that if the vacancy occurs in an odd-numbered year then the appointment is made by recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and in even-numbered years it is filled upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House.
Provides that the term for the member serving as the employer’s representative will expire on June 30, 2015, the term for the employee representative will expire on June 30, 2016, and the term for the general public representative will expire on June 30, 2017.
Requires the Secretary of Commerce and the chair of the Board to make a detailed written report by May 1, 2015, to the chairs of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance, the chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Natural and Economic Resources, the chairs of the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural and Economic Resources, and the Fiscal Research Division. This written report is to include five specific areas of information, including measures taken to ensure the independence of Board staff and whether or not adequate staff is assigned to the Board.
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