Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity confirmed Thursday that the state’s long-struggling unemployment website was again experiencing outages, though the site is back up as of early in the afternoon.
“CONNECT will be temporarily unavailable for claimants. We apologize for any inconvenience and will provide an update when it is available to access,” the agency previously tweeted Thursday morning.
The outage was an unwelcome reminder of the state’s recurrent failures on this front for at least one legislator and potential candidate for Governor.
“A year later and the CONNECT website still crashes — Florida has one of the WORST unemployment systems in the country and it keeps proving itself to be awful every single day,” remonstrated Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, an Orlando-area Democrat mulling a run.
The website’s latest failures come just weeks after the head of the Department of Economic Opportunity painted a rosy picture of the platform’s future.
A revamp would turn it into a “new shiny car” when it’s all done, Economic Opportunity Executive Director Dane Eagle told a Senate committee in March.
“What I’m proposing is a new system, but it is using the system we have. There is some value to some of the coding, some of the mainframe infrastructure. Once we are finished, at least with this proposal, this will be a new car,” Eagle said. “If we can move forward with the cloud, more modular, the new user face, it will be a new shiny car.”
The DEO Modernization Act is ready for floor consideration in both the House and the Senate, and that would allow a statutory framework for reforms of the unemployment website. The bill cleared its final Senate committee Thursday afternoon
“As we speak, the DEO system is down,” bill sponsor Aaron Bean told the Appropriations Committee.
The latest outage came nearly a year after the first fiery quotes from Gov. Ron DeSantis vowing remedy for what he described as a “jalopy in the Daytona 500.”