Missouri House votes for cuts to unemployment benefits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri lawmakers are trying again to reduce the duration of state jobless benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally.

House members gave the measure initial approval in a voice vote Tuesday. It needs another vote to move to the Senate.

The bill is a revival of a failed 2015 plan to cut the maximum benefits to 13 weeks if the state’s jobless rate is below 6 percent. That’s seven weeks fewer than what’s now allowed.

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in December.

The maximum number of weeks will rise under Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick’s proposal if the unemployment rate creeps above 6 percent, topping out at 20 weeks if the jobless rate eclipses 9 percent.

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