Today's Law As Amended


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AB-42 Unemployment insurance: advisory committee on unemployment insurance.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The economic shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a veritable tsunami of unemployment insurance (UI) applications filed with the Employment Development Department (EDD) since March. The final 2020–21 state budget provides an indicator of the magnitude, as total state and federal UI expenditures have risen from $5,500,000,000 in the 2018–19 fiscal year to an estimated $43,500,000,000 in the 2020–21 fiscal year.
(b) EDD has had to massively and rapidly increase staffing to address enormous claim backlogs while dealing with a woefully outdated information technology system for processing claims. As of November 18, 2020, EDD was reporting a remaining claims backlog of nearly 600,000, many of which date back months.
(c) In addition to the extraordinary increase in UI claims, various federal expansions of UI benefits with loosened eligibility standards in response to the pandemic emergency have made the UI program highly vulnerable to fraud, which is a problem exacerbated by EDD’s ongoing administrative deficiencies.
(d) A California State Auditor report released in November strongly criticized the EDD for its failure to stop including full social security numbers in mailings sent to UI claimants. In addition, a November 23, 2020, letter to Governor Newsom from the California District Attorneys Associations and seven individual county District Attorneys offices charged that as much as $1,000,000,000 in fraudulent benefits may have been collected in the names of as many as 20,000 prison and jail inmates.

SEC. 2.

 Article 2 (commencing with Section 370) is added to Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, to read:

Article  2. Advisory Committee
370.
 (a) The department shall establish and convene an advisory committee to advise the department on matters within the department’s jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, unemployment insurance.
(b) (1) The advisory committee members shall be made up of organizations representing a diverse spectrum of private and public employers and employees impacted by programs overseen by the department. The director shall designate the organizations to be represented on the advisory committee, and each designated organization shall appoint its representative.
(2) Advisory committee members shall serve terms of up to two years.
(c) (1) The advisory committee shall meet at least once per quarter.
(2) Meetings of the advisory committee shall be open and public in accordance with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
(d) The advisory committee shall make recommendations to the department as necessary.
(e) Commencing on January 1, 2023, the advisory committee shall prepare and publicly publish an annual report describing its activities, including, but not limited to, recommendations made by the advisory committee and the department’s response to those recommendations.
371.
 This article shall be operative upon appropriation by the Legislature.