Despite rampant fraud and mismanagement that has plagued the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and cost taxpayers at least $11 billion in fraud, three Republican good-government bills to address those failures were shelved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair.
Those bills held today in Assembly Appropriations were:
- SB 39 by Senator Shannon Grove (Bakersfield) would require the EDD to cross check prison inmate records with unemployment claims to prevent benefits from going to prisoners.
- SB 58 by Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (Santa Clarita) would require the EDD to immediately end the practice of including full social security numbers on its most frequently mailed documents.
- SB 232 by Senator Jim Nielsen (Tehama) would implement the State Auditor’s recommendations from the previous three audits of EDD.
“California completely failed its unemployed during the pandemic and today failed them again. The Assembly Democrats hid behind a gutless procedure to shelve legislation that would have addressed many of EDD’s problems,” said Leader Wilk. “These were good, common-sense solutions recommended by the State Auditor. Good solutions shouldn’t have party lines – it is unfortunate that was not the case today.”
Leader Wilk pointed out that the shelving of these three bills to reform the EDD comes just one week after another scathing audit report was released by the State Auditor. Read the latest auditor’s report here.
Many of the issues at the EDD were magnified as a result of economic upheaval caused by COVID-19. However, failures at Governor Newsom’s EDD date as far back as 2013. At its height, EDD had a backlog of more than one million claims of residents needing to get their benefits.
“I am at a loss to explain why the Democrat majority decided to hold this important bill that has received unanimous, bipartisan support this year. Governor Newsom’s EDD is the most mismanaged department in the country with audits finding billions of dollars in fraud since last year’s government shutdown. SB 39 is a common sense effort to cut down on fraud committed by state prison inmates, a policy that most states have already implemented,” said Senator Grove.
Senator Nielsen said, “Governor Newsom and the Democrat-controlled Legislature don’t have the courage to take on powerful bureaucracies, like the EDD – clearly a failed agency. It’s unconscionable. Of the issues that could have been fast-tracked earlier this year, fixing the EDD should have been at the top of the priority list. This shows a callous disregard for the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Californians who are unemployed because of the governor’s lockdown orders. It adds insult to injury that unemployed workers still have to pay their bills on time, while the EDD can’t even answer the phone to help them get their benefit checks.”