Bill would extend Nevada unemployment benefits by 7 weeks

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John Locher / AP

People wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Las Vegas. Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation and its partner organizations, like the One-Stop Career Center, have seen an increase in traffic due to the coronavirus.

Mon, Aug 3, 2020 (8:16 a.m.)

CARSON CITY — Democratic state lawmakers introduced a bill Sunday to extend Nevada unemployment benefits from 13 to 20 weeks.

The bill would also allow people who lose their jobs to work part-time and still qualify for unemployment as long as they don’t earn more than 1.5 times their benefit payment. Under current rules, part-time income cannot exceed the benefit amount.

The bill, which was heard in a Senate committee, received bipartisan support.

Nevada has been hit hard economically by the pandemic because of its reliance on the tourism and hospitality industries. The state unemployment rate is 24.9%.

Until the program expired Friday, the federal government had also been providing a $600 enhancement to state benefits.

Lawmakers in Congress are in negotiations to extend the federal benefit, with Democrats and Republicans at odds over the amount of payments.

Between state benefits and the federal enhancement, unemployed Nevadans have received about $6.2 billion since the onset of the pandemic, about the same amount paid out from 2009 to 2012, state officials said.

“That’s flat spooky,” Sen. Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, said.

The bill passed out of the Senate committee unanimously. The Senate did not hold a floor vote on the measure Sunday night.

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