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Kaine Wants Special Session on Benefits - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Kaine Wants Special Session on Benefits

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State lawmakers could be heading back to Richmond to deal once more with extended unemployment benefits.

Governor Tim Kaine wanted the General Assembly to approve two changes in the state unemployment system, to extend jobless benefits to more people, with the help of $125 million in federal stimulus.

"We picked the two that were the simplest and the least expensive," Kaine said in an exclusive interview with NBC29.

House Republicans killed the measure during Wednesday's one-day veto override session.

Since then, Kaine has stayed tight-lipped about the possibility of a special session to deal ever since republican lawmakers voted his unemployment plan down wednesday night.

But Kaine now says he wants the General Assembly to come back to Richmond to find a way to make the changes.

"We're still looking and we're going to look, but I think what it's going to take is for the legislature to realize this was a huge error," he said.

Kaine said he'll push lawmakers to call a special legislative session to deal with unemployment benefits.

"I will definitely do that," the governor said.

He said more jobless Virginians need access to state benefits. But that won't happen without legislative cooperation.

"I don't think there's any way this can be fixed without the legislature changing the eligibility requirements," he said. "I do not have the executive ability to change them on my own."

Convincing lawmakers to take up the issue again will be a tough sell, especially to the 53 delegates who opposed the plan.

Kaine says it's the only way: "If they're willing to reconsider, then we can fix this thing right away. If they're not willing to reconsider, then it can't be fixed."

Reported by Adam Rhew
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