The state House voted this week in favor of state Rep. Jerry Knowles' (R-Berks/Schuylkill) legislation to provide access to written and audio records of unemployment compensation appeal hearings.

House Bill 393 creates transparency and provides fairness to all parties involved by requiring that testimony at unemployment compensation appeal hearings be taken with a digital recording device, and by a court reporter in certain circumstances. Knowles' bill also requires both written transcripts and audio recordings to be provided to participating parties upon written request.

Knowles introduced this bill after learning of a situation where an employer was denied access to an audio recording of an unemployment compensation appeal hearing of a former employee.

"The law is currently vague, and regulations are overly restrictive for both employers and claimants who wish to obtain records of the public hearing in which they participated," said Knowles. "This bill allows all parties to have access to a transcript of a hearing if they so desire, and if it's signed into law, the department would be required by law to provide the testimony."

Under current regulations, recorded hearings are not transcribed or made available to claimants unless a subsequent appeal has been filed with the UC Board of Review or with the Commonwealth Court. For any other purpose, the information is considered confidential and may not be released.

House Bill 393 has been sent to the Senate for its consideration.

For more information on House Bill 393, or any state-related issue, visit RepKnowles.com or Facebook.com/RepKnowles or call his office in Tamaqua at (570) 668-1240, or in Hamburg at (610) 562-3411.