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House OKs changes to unemployment insurance

PHOENIX — The Arizona House of Representatives has approved a bill that
shifts to workers the burden of proving that they’re eligible for unemployment
insurance benefits.

Republican Rep. Warren Peterson argued his bill prevents people from collecting
benefits when they’re not eligible while employers fight their claims. Democrats
argued it puts federal funding of the state’s program in jeopardy.

The bill requires workers to present documents showing they’re eligible when
filing for unemployment insurance benefits.

Democratic Rep. Debbie McCune Davis says most employment lawyers tell their
clients not to put anything in writing when letting workers go. That means
workers can’t prove they deserve benefits without a long wait.

The bill also lets employers simply say a worker voluntarily resigned or quit.

Thursday’s 36-23 party-line vote sends the bill to the Senate.


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