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Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

NC Senate Changing Unemployment Benefits

N.C. Senate chamber
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Changes to North Carolina’s unemployment benefits today passed the first of two required votes in the state Senate. The bill raises a key requirement for those using benefits to remain on them.

It raises the number of employers a person receiving benefits must contact each week. State law currently requires them to reach out to at least two employers a week on two separate days. The bill raises that number to five employers a week—one of the highest requirements in the country—although it no longer has to be on separate days.

  Opponents of the change argue it’s an undue hardship on those claiming benefits, as well as employers. Senators in favor have called it a reasonable requirement.

The bill also makes several technical changes to unemployment benefits, which the state rewrote in 2013. Those include charging employers quarterly instead of annually, requiring quarterly reports on overpayments and fraud, and changes to an appeals board. 

The Senate is scheduled to take the final vote tomorrow, which would send the bill to Governor Pat McCrory.