Lawmakers have approved legislation allowing more people to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.
Workers who quit their job to take care of an ill relative, because they are the victim of domestic violence, or because they need to re-locate with a spouse would now qualify for benefits, under the bill approved by the Assembly Wednesday.
State Representative Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says the expansion would allow the state to help an additional 3,000 people who are out of work. He says the need is now to extend those benefits to people who are in trouble right now because they can't find a job.
Several Republican lawmakers voiced concerns about the bill. State Representative Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) worries businesses and the state will be forced to cover the cost of additional unemployment benefits when federal assistance runs out.
With the expanded benefits, the state will be able to access nearly $90 million in federal economic stimulus funding.
The legislation passed the Assembly on an 87-to-11 vote. The Senate is also expected to vote on the bill Wednesday afternoon.