The state Senate will be on the floor next week. Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says discussions with his members led him to call the chamber to the floor next Monday, in order to vote on amendment which will allow an extension of benefits to the long-term unemployed. Both the Assembly and Senate passed a bill last week, which authorizes the state to use federal funds to extend unemployment insurance benefits by 13 weeks. But the Assembly adopted an amendment which would restore a one week waiting period for workers starting to receive benefits. “Although it appears that there’s a lot of direct linkage between them, in the end the thirteen weeks is what’s important right now,” said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald conceded there was bipartisan support when the Senate voted to drop the one week wait, but says he’s hopeful the Democrat “don’t play games” with the issue. “Holding a press conference last Thursday, I don’t think was a gesture that they were necessarily not going to engage in that,” said Fitzgerald. “Unfortunately I think they’re trying to turn a nonpartisan issue into a partisan issue.” In a statement, Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller accused Fitzgerald and Republicans of a flip-flop, in moving to reinstate the one week wait.