Ark. House backs changes to unemployment benefits

The Arkansas House has voted to freeze the state’s unemployment benefits to help repay the more than $346 million it owes the federal government, reports the AP. By a 67-20 vote, the House on Wednesday passed the bill to remove the indexing formula for minimum and maximum unemployment benefits. It sets the weekly minimum benefit amount at $81 and the maximum at $451. The proposal also would reduce the benefit period for regular unemployment from 26 to 25 weeks.

The legislation has already been approved by the Senate. Supporters say it will save the state between $50 million and $75 million a year. It faces opposition from labor groups who say it punishes the unemployed without asking businesses to sacrifice. The bill heads back to the Senate to consider an amendment.

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