10.05.21 Newsom approves laws to revamp California’s unemployment benefits system

By Patrick McGreevy

Excerpted from the LA Times

Faced with criticism from many Californians thrown out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday gave his approval to a package of bills aimed at reducing delays and fraud in the state’s beleaguered unemployment benefits system.

The legislation was signed into law less than a month after after Newsom beat back a recall attempt in which those seeking to remove him from office cited problems that included long waits for unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of jobless Californians.

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The governor also signed Assembly Bill 110, which requires the state prison agency to provide the EDD with personal identifying information on inmates so it can be matched against claims for unemployment.

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) said her measure is needed to put the requirement into law after the EDD paid some $810 million in benefits on tens of thousands of claims filed in the names of prison inmates, including convicted murderers on Death Row.

The new law, she said, “will enable EDD to implement basic business processes so that unemployment funds go to those who desperately need them, not to fraudsters trying to make an extra buck.”