Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AZ Senate Quick to Accept Stimulus Money

(STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX) – The Senate passed legislation today clearing the way to receive federal stimulus money for a 13-week extension in unemployment benefits for out-of-work Arizonans and $1.6 billion for AHCCCS.

“It was vital that we acted quickly to ensure these funds get to people in Arizona who have lost their jobs during these devastating economic times,” said Sen. Barbara Leff, sponsor of SB 1322 and chair of the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

“This was the right thing to do. Our taxpayers deserve the money to come back to our state,” said Sen. Carolyn Allen., sponsor of SB 1102 and chair of the Senate Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform Committee.

Senate Bill 1322 allows for a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits – paid 100 percent by the federal government – to Arizonans. These benefits could be extended another 6 weeks (with federal funds) if the state unemployment rate reaches 8 percent. It was 7.8 percent in March.

Senate Bill 1102 makes a necessary technical change in state law in order to qualify for and receive $1.6 billion in federal stimulus dollars for the AHCCCS program.

Both bills are emergency measures that passed with a 2/3 vote, allowing them to become effective immediately after the governor signs them. The Senate transmitted the bills to the House where they are expected to pass Thursday and then go to the governor.

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