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

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Date Published: 02/18/2021 09:00 PM
AB42:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  February 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 42


Introduced by Assembly Member Lackey
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Cunningham, Megan Dahle, Davies, Flora, Gallagher, Kiley, Mathis, Nguyen, Patterson, Smith, Voepel, and Waldron)
(Coauthor: Senator Wilk)

December 07, 2020


An act to add Article 2 (commencing with Section 370) to Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 to the Unemployment Insurance Code, relating to unemployment insurance.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 42, as amended, Lackey. Unemployment insurance: advisory committee on unemployment insurance.
Existing law establishes the Employment Development Department, administered by the Director of Employment Development, within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and sets forth its powers and duties related to the administration of the state unemployment and disability compensation programs.

This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish an advisory committee on unemployment insurance within the Employment Development Department that is composed of members who represent stakeholders and that has meeting and annual reporting requirements.

This bill would require the department to establish, upon appropriation by the Legislature, an advisory committee to advise the department on matters within the department’s jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, unemployment insurance. The bill would require the committee to include members representing a diverse spectrum of private and public employers and employees impacted by programs overseen by the department, as provided. The bill would require the committee to hold open and public meetings in compliance with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act at least once a quarter. The bill would require, commencing on January 1, 2023, the committee to 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. The bill would also make related findings and declarations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


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.

SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish an advisory committee on unemployment insurance within the Employment Development Department that is composed of members who represent stakeholders and that has meeting and annual reporting requirements.