Fann warns lawmakers not to strip unemployment hike from Arizona budget

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

The president of the state Senate is firing a warning salvo at House Republicans who would kill her top priority: It’s not a good move for your political future.

Karen Fann is a key player behind the move to hike the cap on the state’s jobless benefits by $80 a week, to $320. That would move Arizona from the second lowest in the country to close to the middle of the pack.

“That unemployment bill is the right thing to do,” the Prescott Republican told Capitol Media Services.

More to the point, it’s a “going-home” bill, meaning something she wants to accomplish this year.

Only thing is, there are efforts to kill it in the Republican-controlled House. And she is not pleased.

“It’s one thing if you vote ‘no’ on it,” said Fann who was first elected to the legislature in 2010. “But to actively try and kill it and pull it out of the budget probably doesn’t bode well to next year when they want their bills put up on the (voting) board.”

And Fann, as the president of the Senate, a job she will have through the 2022 legislative session, has the absolute power to decide what gets a vote — and what does not.

Arizona law says those who are fired or laid off through no fault of their own are entitled to collect one-half of what they were earning before.

But the law also caps those weekly checks at $240, a figure that has not been adjusted since 2004.

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