Long Term Unemployed Clear Hurdle To Extension

7/12/11 – With only one “no” vote, a bill to give Wisconsin’s long-term unemployed an extra 13 weeks of benefits was endorsed today by two state legislative committees. The Senate labor panel voted unanimously for the measure – while the Assembly labor committee okayed it 8-to-1 with Delafield Republican Chris Kapenga voting no. The measure is expected to be taken up by the full Legislature next week. It allows the state to obtain 89-million dollars in federal stimulus money to extend maximum benefits for the long-term unemployed to 86 weeks. About 10-thousand Wisconsinites are expected to benefit. The state owes about one-and-a-half billion dollars to Washington, after it borrowed from the federal government to keep jobless benefits flowing during the recession. But the stimulus funding – totaling 89-million-dollars – does not have to be paid back. At a public hearing this morning, freshman Assembly Republican Mike Endsley of Sheboygan told what it was like for him to be unemployed – and he said it convinced him that the extra benefits are necessary. The state’s long-term unemployed lost their extended benefits in mid-April. The new money is expected to be retroactive to April 16th.