ATLANTA — A half-dozen contract-school workers complained Thursday they weren’t allowed to testify before a House committee voted to end their unemployment benefits.
The committee passed legislation that disqualifies employees of companies contracted to schools as a cost-saving measure. The companies normally lay off the workers during school holidays, encouraging them to apply for the benefits.
The vice chairman of the House Industry and Labor Committee, Rep. Chad Nimmer, refused shouts from the audience to allow testimony before the party-line vote for House Bill 714, sponsored by the committee Chairman Mark Hamilton. He said the legislators had other meetings to rush to.
Testimony is customarily given in subcommittees, but worker representatives said notice of the subcommittee meeting was only made public hours beforehand. That wasn’t adequate time for the workers to get away from their jobs, especially those from Savannah and Valdosta who wanted to participate.
Rep. Pete Marin, D-Duluth, asked Nimmer to make an exception to allow the testimony before the full committee, including Brett Hume, a Savannah insurance agent who wanted to explain how his business is harmed when workers stop paying his policy premiums.