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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Gov. Bev Perdue is bypassing state lawmakers and clearing the way for the extension of federal unemployment benefits to some 47,000 North Carolinians who were caught in a tug-of-war between the governor and legislators.

Perdue signed an order Friday saying she had asked lawmakers for weeks to remove a provision that tied extending the jobless benefits to the state budget debate.

Perdue says the state doesn’t for pay the benefits, so she has the power to extend them as North Carolina’s chief executive with the authority to sign contracts with the U.S. Labor Department.

The 47,000 unemployed residents have been without benefits for more than a month.

A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis said Friday the speaker would not be available for comment until an afternoon news conference.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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