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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

 9:05 PM 

Assembly strikes Senate change to unemployment extension

The Assembly has passed a 13-week extension in unemployment benefits, but not before restoring a one-week delay in benefit payments.

A Dem amendment passed Tuesday by the Senate removed that delay, which was originally passed in the state budget.

Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, cautioned that passing the legislation with changes could kill the extension if the Senate doesn't come back into session tomorrow.

She charged that GOP senators didn't want to take the vote against the amendment yesterday because of impending recall elections, and that 40,000 families in Wisconsin can't afford to wait until lawmakers reconvene in September.

"They don't have the votes to concur with your amendment," Sinicki said. "You are killing this bill."

"Once again, you're sticking to what should be the hard-working middle class," she added.

Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan and the author of the amendment, said her measure simply corrects the Senate's action, and that she's not interested in delaying the benefit extension.

"In the course of the year ... this will save the UI account somewhere between $41 and $56 million," Ballweg said.

The amendment restoring the delay passed 58-39; the final vote on the bill was 81-16.


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