Senator Jim Nielsen, R-Red Bluff, issued the following statement after Democrat lawmakers effectively killed his Senate Bill 232, which would have helped fix the gross mismanagement of the Employment Development Department (EDD):
“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.”
SB 232 would have implemented all of the nonpartisan State Auditor’s recommendations to permanently fix the EDD, including improving call centers, modernizing IT systems, developing a recession plan, and developing a plan for assessing effectiveness of its safeguards against fraud. These fixes would have gone a long way toward ensuring that, when needed, Californians receive their unemployment benefits in a timely manner.
Links to the State Auditor’s Recommendations, 1/26/21 Report and 1/28/21 Report.