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House OKs changes to unemployment insurance

PHOENIX -- The Arizona House of Representatives has approved a bill that shifts to workers the burden of proving that they're eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Republican Rep. Warren Peterson argued his bill prevents people from collecting benefits when they're not eligible while employers fight their claims. Democrats argued it puts federal funding of the state's program in jeopardy.

The bill requires workers to present documents showing they're eligible when filing for unemployment insurance benefits.

Democratic Rep. Debbie McCune Davis says most employment lawyers tell their clients not to put anything in writing when letting workers go. That means workers can't prove they deserve benefits without a long wait.

The bill also lets employers simply say a worker voluntarily resigned or quit.

Thursday's 36-23 party-line vote sends the bill to the Senate.

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