Senator Gloria Romero (D – East Los Angeles) and Senator Bob Dutton (R- Rancho Cucamonga) have introduced legislation to prevent elected officials from collecting unemployment benefits after they lose or leave their public seats.
The issue recently came to light after former Rosemead City Councilman John Nunez lost his re-election in March 2009 and then filed for, and received, unemployment payments from the State of California, despite objections from Rosemead city officials. The city was billed $11,250 through September 2009.
“As elected officials, we are public servants who answer a call to give, not to receive,” said Senator Romero. “I am outraged to hear that an elected official would file for unemployment and I am committed to ensuring that this never happens again.”
Senator Dutton reacted with equal outrage when he learned Nunez received unemployment benefits when he didn’t win re-election to the Rosemead City Council.
“This common-sense measure will ensure public servants don’t bilk our unemployment system when they leave office,” Senator Dutton said. “California’s unemployment insurance fund is bleeding red ink, having borrowed more than $7 billion so far from the federal government to stay afloat. We must identify and eliminate all forms of abuse and ensure that only those who rightly qualify for benefits receive them.”
SB 1211 clarifies existing provisions in state law related to unemployment benefits in order to prevent both inadvertent mistakes and deliberate abuse of a system set up solely for the protection of California’s workers.
From the office of Robert Dutton