Ducey fights jobless benefits suit

Photo by Bytemarks via flickr/Creative Commons

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services  

An attorney for Gov. Doug Ducey is asking a judge to toss a bid by a labor group to order him to immediately seek to recoup extra federal jobless benefits that were denied to them when the governor pulled out of the program.

Timothy Berg does not dispute that Arizona law requires the Department of Economic Security to pursue all possible avenues of unemployment compensation. And the federal government did make extra money — initially $600 a week, later cut to $300 — available to out-of-work people in Arizona and other states, a program that ran through August.

It also is undisputed that Ducey unilaterally withdrew from the federal program and ended the extra cash as of July 10, a move he said was designed in part to get people to take jobs that restaurants and other employers could not fill.

But in new legal filings, Berg told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper that it was Ducey and not DES who first accepted the federal funds. And he said the governor is not bound by the law that directs the activities of DES.

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