TRENTON - (AP) - A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced a bill that would make the state pay if it takes too long to rule on unemployment insurance appeals.

Members of the labor committee voted on Monday to send the bill to the full Senate after hearing from state Labor Department officials about a backlog in deciding cases when workers appeal after being denied unemployment insurance payments.

Under the bill, the state would have to start paying benefits eight weeks after the appeal is filed. If the claimant is found to be trying to defraud the system, he or she would have to repay any benefits.

The Labor Department says that its higher-level appeals board is making up its backlog, but the lower-level appeals tribunal is still far behind.