CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Senators passed a bill Thursday, April 7 to extend the unemployment benefits that expired on Saturday, April 2.
The Mo. House passed the bill weeks ago, but Mo. Senators wanted Gov.. Nixon to eliminate the millions of dollars in the federal stimulus spending before they would agree to extend unemployment benefits.
"It might be devastating for a lot of families in the area to find that the benefits that they've been receiving for months or weeks suddenly comes to an end," said Connie Mahthath, a Workforce Inc. representative.
"It was a big step forward today in the Missouri Senate, cause we extended unemployment benefits for Missourians, and I know a lot of those folks are going to be breathing a little easier to know what the Senate did today in Jefferson City," said Senator David Pearce (R).
The bill still needs a final vote next week before it will go to Gov.. Nixon. If the bill passes, the extended benefits program will continue until Aug. 28, 2013.
The bill includes an emergency clause, meaning it will go into effect, the moment Gov.. Nixon signs it.
"I'd like to get the unemployment extension dollars, the folks are out there applying for jobs," said Gov.. Nixon.
The Missouri Department of Labor estimated that the period April 3, 2011 through Jan 7, 2012 that 273 people in Cape Girardeau County would have been impacted by the program ending.
The department estimates those individuals will receive $847,000 in extended benefits.
Susan Corvick, a Scott City resident says she thinks a society is measured by how it takes care of the weaker. She says it's not someone's fault of they are out of work, because a lot of times it's out of their control.
But some say there should be more emphasis on finding work for the unemployed.
"By offering them extension after extension, they may not be really out there aggressively looking for work," said Mahathath.
"There's more jobs out there available now, and maybe not at the salary they're used to making, but still there are more jobs, there are more jobs available," said Missouri Resident Judy Hopfer.
"There's a lot of employers that are starting to hire again," said Mahathath.
But until they find that next job, Missourians will still have 20 extra weeks of jobless benefits.
The bill still needs a final vote next week before it can go to the Governor for a signature.