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Gov. Bev Perdue signed an Executive Order Friday to restore federal unemployment benefits for thousands of North Carolinians.

Here’s the statement released by her press office:

“For weeks, I have been trying to work with the Republican legislative leaders to get them to do the right thing: send me a clean bill to extend the unemployment benefits for 47,000 North Carolinians who have lost their jobs. But instead of acting responsibly on this matter, the Republican legislature has repeatedly refused to send me such a bill. Instead, they have persistently attempted to use our unemployed workers as hostages by tying the extension of their benefits to my acceptance of budget bills that would inflict severe and unnecessary cuts to our schools and other essential programs. Read More

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Senator Malcolm Graham appealed to his colleagues again on Wednesday to pass a clean bill extending federal jobless benefits to 46,000 long-term unemployed North Carolinians.

The Mecklenburg County Democrat told the Senate the federal benefits extension had no place in the state budget bill.

Senator Tom Apodaca responded that the quickest way for Democrats to “do the right thing” would be to pass the Republican’s budget. Read More

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Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Kinston Republican, was the subject of this Huffington Post story earlier this afternoon, where it reported he paid one of the 46,000 jobless workers without unemployment benefits $8-an-hour to do yard work at his house.

The Huffington Post story gave mention to a testy email exchange Treadway and LaRoque had on Thursday. Scroll down this post to read the content of that email.

Kathryn “Cinnamon” Treadway spoke to N.C. Policy Watch as well today, and said she only did an hour’s worth of work because LaRoque wanted her to haul away large tree limbs and other heavy manual labor that she didn’t think she could physically do on such a hot day.

“He did give me $8 for the hour I was there, and that covered the gas to get there and back,” she said. “It was embarrassing; I was embarrassed to go to this man’s house who was obviously wealthy. I was the valedictorian of my high school and here I am, sitting here picking weeds out of his yard for $8 an hour.”

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It looks like legislators will wait until after the Memorial Day holiday to take further action on legislation that would extend federal jobless benefits to some 45,000 North Carolinians who lost their benefits in mid-April.

The House Rules Committee voted Wednesday along party lines for a measure that would restore benefits for the long-term jobless workers, but the extension remains tied to the passage of the state budget.

Rep. Paul Luebke, who voted against that measure in committee, says it is simply “illogical” to try to force the Governor to support the state budget by withholding federal benefits for thousands of unemployed workers. Read More

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The number of people being affected by a standoff in the state legislature over unemployment benefits has ticked upwards again, now at 43,000 and 46,000 people.

The new estimate was released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. Today marks the 40th day since April 16, when the benefits stopped for an estimated 37,000 people.

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