Feds question legality of Arizona law requiring those on unemployment to take any job

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

Federal labor officials are raising legal questions about a new Arizona law designed to effectively force people collecting unemployment insurance back to work.

In letters obtained by Capitol Media Services, Gay Gilbert, administrator of the Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance, said a provision requiring people to accept any job or lose their benefits appears to run afoul of federal law. And she wants answers — especially with the law set to take effect Friday .

Tasya Peterson, spokeswoman for the state Department of Economic Security which administers unemployment benefits in Arizona, said her agency has been “in communication” with federal officials, though it has not yet submitted a formal response to Gilbert’s inquiries.

But Peterson said her agency understands the issue and does not believe there is a conflict with federal law. In fact, she said, Arizona has a statute that mirrors the federal law Gilbert is citing as possibly conflicting with the measure approved earlier this year.

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