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Lawsuit accuses Governor Ducey of illegally ending unemployment benefits

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
Posted at 4:43 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 09:37:26-04

PHOENIX — A new lawsuit filed in superior court claims Arizona Governor Doug Ducey broke the law by ending federal unemployment benefits in July instead of September.

A lawyer for Unemployed Workers United claims Ducey's decision to stop giving Arizona residents an extra $300 a week prior to the Sept. 6 deadline was a violation of the law.

According to the group's attorney, James Barton, about 100,000 Arizona residents should have received an additional $2,400.

Barton said Arizona law states Ducey should have used the federal dollars to help those in need.

"You're going to take all advantages -- one of those advantages is the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and the governor has decided to not take those advantages which is illegal," he said.

"It's contrary to state law," Barton added.

One impacted resident, Joe Flores, called the decision to end benefits early "shortsighted."

Flores told ABC15 he lost his job during the pandemic and has been staying home to take care of his child with special needs.

According to Flores, he doesn't want to go back to work because he'd have to send his son back to school where there's an outbreak.

As ABC15 previously reported, Ducey ended the extra payments in July and introduced a bonus for people to go back to work.

CJ Karamargin, a spokesperson for the governor, told ABC15, "The timing of this suit is noteworthy."

"The latest numbers from Arizona's Office of Economic Opportunity show our state has recovered 94% of the jobs it lost since the beginning of the pandemic and in Phoenix, it's even better - 99%," he said.

"Arizona is recovering faster than nearly all other states, our labor force is rebounding and every week there seems to be an announcement about companies relocating to Arizona or expanding," Karamargin added.

The lawsuit in Arizona was filed on Friday but no hearing has been scheduled.