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Bill would allow unemployment aid for federal employees who must work during shutdowns

The Maryland state flag waves in the wind along State Circle near the Statehouse Monday, Aug. 9, 2004, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Matthew S. Gunby)

A measure to allow federal employees who must work during a government shutdown without pay to collect unemployment benefits is getting a hearing in a Maryland Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday. Lawmakers filed the legislation in response to the recent 35-day shutdown.

The measure would apply to civilian federal employees who are required to work at a site in Maryland.

Lawmakers have filed the bill as emergency legislation, so it would take effect quickly. Maryland is home to tens of thousands of federal workers. The measure's supporters have expressed concern about another potential shutdown after Feb. 15.

To take effect, the bill would need confirmation from federal labor officials that the state is complying with the unemployment insurance program.

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