Sparks wants unemployment compensation in special session
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks, Alabama's agriculture commissioner, called on Gov. Bob Riley to include legislation that would allow the state to accept an additional $100 million in unemployment compensation in the special session.
Business interests and Republican lawmakers have opposed the legislation, which would be necessary to receive the additional funding, saying it would increase the costs for businesses. Riley has said he opposes the legislation.
Labor unions and Democrats have voiced their support for the change.
"People are hurting all over Alabama," Sparks said in a statement. "The slow recovery of our economy is placing a heavy burden on thousands of Alabamians who are currently out of work and eligible for unemployment benefits.
"As I have previously stated, I fully support an extension of the benefit period for those currently receiving unemployment and the expansion of benefits to part-time workers and others covered by the federal stimulus plan. Let me be clear on this issue: any legislation dealing with this issue should include a legislative requirement that calls for the termination of the expansion of benefits once the stimulus funds are exhausted. I refuse to strap the businesses of this state with undue financial burdens."
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen