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Unemployment extension: Missouri Senators lock horn with GOP colleagues

11 March, 2011

Unemployment extension: Missouri Senators lock horn with GOP colleagues. It is turning very interesting to watch the two sides fight over federal funds.

A couple of bills proposed by Missouri lawmakers are likely to bring dramatic scenes to the House. A few Republican senators have been calling for measures ensuring unemployment extension as well as reforms in workers’ compensation.

With these two controversial bills Missouri Senators will lock horn with their own colleges in Republican platform. The next two weeks the House will witness hot debates on two pressing issues, extension of unemployment benefits and reforms in the state's workers compensation system.

The move objected by GOP time and again may lead to a deadlock in the House which is dominated by Republicans. "I think there is going to be some debate regarding federal moneys we receive and how we use them," said Senate President Pro Tem Robert Mayer.

The Senator suggested that the focus of the discussion must be the budget which has to allocate $81 million in federal funding for extended unemployment for Missourians out of work for 79 to 99 weeks. Many conservative members do their best to block passage of the bill while Senators from Missouri have been pressing hard to pass the bill before they go for spring break.

Mayer and Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey advocated that “the unemployment bill is the wrong piece of legislation” and it will help nothing but further spending.

The Senators also pressed for reforming workers' compensation in Missouri to limit the liability of co-workers. According to the proposed bill, workers who faced disabilities and illnesses thanks to toxic substances would settle the issue in courts, rather than looking for workers’ compensation.

"I plan on us passing the workers compensation bill by spring break," Dempsey said. "I'm happy to have them meet this week and iron something out."

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