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Minn. bill would maintain longer jobless benefits

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Legislature has passed a bill that would maintain access to longer unemployment benefits for the state's jobless.

The bill cleared the Senate unanimously Monday after passing the House last month. It heads to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

The legislation makes a technical adjustment to state law to allow unemployed Minnesotans to continue collecting unemployment benefits for up to 86 weeks. Without the change, Minnesota's unemployed workers would lose out on a 13-week extension of federally authorized unemployment benefits.

Minnesota's unemployment trust fund is running a $600 million deficit. But the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Pederson, says business owners who pay unemployment taxes are willing to operate on borrowed federal money since the fund is scheduled to return to solvency within two years.

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