Arkansas Lawmakers Give Final Approval To Unemployment Benefits Cut

Mar 12, 2015

Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to cutting unemployment benefits, a move that an opponent cast as hypocritical since the Legislature is about to receive a hefty pay raise.

The bill approved by the Senate on a 22-7 vote Thursday would reduce the number of weeks someone can receive unemployment assistance from the state from 25 weeks to 20. The measure also reduces weekly unemployment benefits by changing the way they're calculated.

The proposal now heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

Republican Sen. Jim Hendren says the change was needed to ensure the financial stability of the state's unemployment fund. Democratic Sen. Linda Chesterfield says the cut would hurt working families and noted it came as a panel is preparing to vote on doubling lawmakers' salaries.