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Spin Control

FRIDAY, FEB. 11, 2011, 11:53 A.M.

WA Lege Day 33: Senate passes Unemployment Insurance changes

OLYMPIA -- The State Senate overwhelmingly approved changes to the state's unemployment insurance system today, increasing benefits temporarily by $25 a week and expanding training programs for jobless workers.

The bill, which follows approval earlier this week of a temporary halt of a planned rate increase for most businesses, now goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire and could be signed as early as this afternoon.

Supporters described it in glowing terms as a bipartisan, bicameral solution worked out in conjunction with Gregoire that would help businesses and unemployed workers. So a win-win-win-win-win.

It passed 41-4. Among Spokane-area senators, Mike Baumgartner and Lisa Brown of Spokane and Bob Morton of Kettle Falls voted yes, Mark Schoesler of Ritzville voted no

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.