Bill seeks to stop unemployment benefits for elected officials

SACRAMENTO - Legislation that would prevent elected officials from collecting unemployment benefits after losing their public seats has passed the Senate floor and is now awaiting the governor's signature.The bill, SB 1211, is authored by senators Gloria Romero (D-East Los Angeles) and Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga). "This is a no-brainer," Romero told her Senate colleagues prior to the 33-1 vote last week. "As elected officials, we are public servants who answer a call to give, not to receive." SB 1211 was introduced in response to the actions by former Rosemead City Councilman John Nunez, who lost his re-election in March 2009 and then filed for - and received - unemployment payments from the state of California, despite current law which prohibits such payments for former elected officials. The city of Rosemead also objected to the unemployment payments. The city was billed $11,250 through September 2009 and will not be able to recoup the money. SB 1211 will allow the Employment Development Department to recover future unemployment insurance payments to former elected officials that are made in error. The bill also makes changes to the California Employer's Guide, which is relied upon by city payroll officials, to help them report employee wages more accurately. "No on should receive unemployment checks who isn't entitled to them, including former elected officials," Dutton said.

********** Published: August 26, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 19