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New Hurdles For Jobless Benefits

The House voted this week to create new hurdles for future applicants for jobless benefits. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Arizona law says those let go from their job through no fault of their own are entitled to jobless benefits. It's now up to the employer to prove someone is ineligible because he or she quit. This measure moves that burden to the worker to prove eligibility. House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said that's not fair. "We should be down here trying to put people back on their feet, not put more impediments in their way of trying to make ends meet and become productive members once again in a working environment," Campbell said.

But Representative Eddie Farnsworth said the change is appropriate. "In every other circumstance, if somebody's claiming they're entitled to something or if they've been wronged or they are entitled to a benefit, they have to show by their own burden that they are entitled to something. Unemployment, that hasn't been the case. In fact, the person who generally is injured when you quit is the business," Farnsworth said.

And Representative Steve Montenegro said some people would rather collect unemployment than work, even though maximum benefits in this state are just $240 a week, the second lowest rate in the nation. The bill now goes to the governor.