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Panel OKs bill to extend unemployment benefits

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Committees in the Alabama Senate and
House have approved versions of a bill that would extend
unemployment benefits to state workers for an additional 20 weeks.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee and the
House Commerce Committee approved versions of the bill that would
use federal stimulus money to continue to pay benefits to
unemployed workers after the initial 59 weeks of unemployment
insurance has expired.

The Senate sponsor, Democratic Sen. Rodger Smitherman of
Birmingham, said the bill allows the state to accept about $65
million in federal money to extend the benefits.

The bill was part of Gov. Bob Riley's call for a special
session.

Smitherman said extending the benefits will help unemployed
Alabama residents struggling to find a new job in the recession.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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