Legislation to tie jobless benefits to state unemployment rate up for financial analysis

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JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Senate changes have delayed a final vote on a bill that would tie the number of weeks Missourians can receive jobless benefits to the state's unemployment rate.

Tweaks made on Monday include changing how the average unemployment rate is calculated.

The bill now heads to legislative researchers, who will estimate how much it will cost to implement.

Approval to the House bill would have sent it to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who vetoed similar legislation last year.

The bill sets up a tiered system that would gradually reduce the current 20-week cap to as few as 13 weeks once unemployment reaches 6 percent.

Republican backers say it would reduce the burden on business owners, who now pay for the state's unemployment fund.

Democrats criticized the measure as hurting struggling Missourians.

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