Arizona House to consider bill enticing unemployed to return to work

May 18, 2020, 4:30 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)...
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

PHOENIX — The Arizona House Majority Leader said Monday a bill will be under consideration that would entice available workers away from bloated unemployment benefits and back into the workforce.

Republican Rep. Warren Petersen said the bill, which could be introduced this week, would be a counter to the coronavirus relief bill that boosted weekly unemployment benefits.

Petersen said he’s worried that the expanded benefits are causing Arizonans to want to stay unemployed instead of returning to work.

“Right now, the way the federal government has handled unemployment with the policy created, it’s actually having a reverse impact than it should,” Petersen said. “It’s actually keeping people at home.”

Petersen said specific language of the bill hasn’t yet been ironed out, but that it’s premise will be aimed at out-of-work people who have the ability to return to the workforce.

The goal, Petersen said, is to get people back to work and ideally in a better situation than being unemployed.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security last Monday reported almost 33,000 new unemployment claims this past week in addition to about 295,000 ongoing claims.

The state paid out a total of about $160 million in benefits in the past week.

“If you’re able to get a job, what can we do to make sure people aren’t motivated to stay home and not work just because the federal government has created this huge, massive unemployment benefit that in some cases is more than what people were actually making by working,” Petersen said.

The newly considered bill comes as the House returns for the first time in nearly two months.

The House has been on recess since they passed a basic state budget on March 23, and the Senate only returned once — to move to end the session. The House must approve, and GOP leaders don’t plan on following suit.

Instead, they have scheduled a week of floor sessions starting Tuesday, with hopes of passing dozens of bills.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly two weeks ago to adjourn for the year, with plans to be called back by Gov. Doug Ducey as needed to address pandemic-related issues.

Republican Senate President Karen Fann told The Associated Press Saturday that she would see what actually passes the House before deciding on whether to reconvene her chamber.

KTAR News 92.3’s Griselda Zetino and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A voter casts his ballot at a drop box on Nov. 8, 2022, in Mesa, Arizona. After months of candidate...
SuElen Rivera

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors responds to AG’s office about voting issues

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Sunday responded to the Arizona Attorney General's Office about voting issues on the Nov. 8 election.
22 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Enchant Scottsdale)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Nov. 25-27

More Christmas events are popping up around the Valley and the police are looking for tips into a couple homicides over the weekend. Here are this weekend's top stories.
22 hours ago
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Suspect arrested after man fatally shot at Phoenix gas station

A man allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of a man at a Phoenix gas station was arrested Saturday.
22 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...

Detectives investigating fatal hit-and-run with pedestrian in wheelchair in Goodyear

A woman in a wheelchair died after she was struck by a vehicle in Goodyear Saturday evening, authorities said.
22 hours ago
(City of Peoria Photo)...
Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Peoria approves tax incentive agreement with mixed-use project developer

Peoria moved forward with what could be the final development agreement needed for a new mixed-use office project called Stadium Point.
22 hours ago
Follow @KTAR923...

Downtown Chandler hosts life-sized holiday treats display ‘Sugarland’

Downtown Chandler kicked off the holiday season with an interactive Christmas display filled with life-sized treats on Saturday.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Arizona House to consider bill enticing unemployed to return to work