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HOUSE PANEL BACKS OVERHAUL OF UNEMPLOYMENT SERVICES

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A House committee has endorsed a massive 403-page bill that would overhaul unemployment services in Utah by streamlining and consolidating 36 programs now scattered through five agencies.

Sponsored by Assistant Minority Whip Grant Protzman, D-North Ogden, the measure represents the single biggest overhaul of state government in memory and is backed by Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt."This is a unique time in history when we have a chance to really see how government serves clients and to restructure government," Lt. Gov. Olene Walker told the House Business Labor and Economic Development Committee. "We must cut bureaucracy. We must cut administration and we must cut overhead."

The panel passed the measure Monday following discussion attended by about 100 people, some of them lined up along walls and crowded into doorways.

The bill would create a new state department called Workforce Services.

Key to the proposal are one-stop regional centers in which an unemployed person could obtain a range of services, from job training to child care.