Associated Press - April 16, 2009 10:55 PM ET
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - In spite of opposition from Republican Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas Senate has passed legislation that would draw down some $555 million in federal unemployment benefits.
The measure, which passed 22-9 on a preliminary vote today, would expand state unemployment benefits by including part-time workers and people who quit for "an urgent compelling and necessary" reason - such as a child's illness or family violence.
Perry has agreed to take almost all the nearly $17 billion stimulus package slated for Texas. But he says there are too many strings attached to the $555 million in unemployment money.
Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle says the governor has made his position on this issue very clear.
Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller said in a statement that, quote, "Amid silly talk of 'state's rights' and 'secession' by opponents of federal funding" legislators addressed issues facing Texans.