Two local senators 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 Councilman John Nunez lost his reelection in March 2009 and then filed for, and received, unemployment payments from the State of California, despite objections from Rosemead 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 Sen. Gloria Romero (D-East L.A.), who co-authored the legislation with Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga). "I am outraged to hear than an elected official would file for unemployment and I am committed to ensuring that this never happens again." Dutton reacted with equal outrage when he learned Nunez received unemployment benefits when he didn't win reelection. "This common sense measure will ensure public servants don't bilk our unemployment system when they leave office," he 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. Contributed by the office of Sen. Gloria Romero.
********** Published: March 12, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 47