unemploymentGASTON COUNTY — A controversial unemployment bill is now law.

Gov. McCrory signed the bill in Gaston County on Thursday morning. It requires people who receive unemployment benefits to increase their contacts with potential employers from two to five times a week.

McCrory says this new bill will make North Carolina more competitive.

He also says the whole point is “helping people who can’t help themselves, while encouraging those who can.”

McCrory said this is a game-changer when it comes to unemployment benefits

“Getting a job is a job, and you should treat it as a job,” said McCrory.

Senate Bill 15 is an unemployment legislation that changes a lot, like requiring people to show a valid federal ID when collecting unemployment benefits

“A photo ID will ensure the person who deserves and qualifies for the benefits is the same person getting the checks.”

It also allows them to check criminal justice databases to make sure inmates aren’t applying for unemployment benefits, which happened two years ago in the state.

“In 2012, three Swane County jail inmates were collecting unemployment benefits while they were locked up. That’s not acceptable.”

One big change: people getting unemployment benefits now have to make five job contacts a week, up from the previously required two.

“The five contact can also be done via the Internet.”

But most importantly, McCrory says it’ll help people find jobs quicker, so they can get back on their feet.

“I care for the people trying to find employment, and we want to help you, but we also want you to help yourself,” said McCrory.

– Christina Watkins