Assembly Bill 56 passes State Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support
SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) successfully passed Assembly Bill (AB) 56 with major bipartisan support out of the State Legislature. AB 56 will implement vital reforms to the Employment Development Department (EDD) by speeding up eligible unemployment insurance claims, protecting Californians from identity theft, preventing rampant fraud of the unemployment insurance system, and ensuring that California is ready to meet the next economic crisis.
“The Legislature has sent a clear message to EDD with the passage of AB 56 that reforms are needed right now,” said Assemblymember Salas. “By passing AB 56, we are stepping up to protect taxpayers, stop fraud, improve the claims process and bring accountability to EDD. We will continue to monitor the department to make sure these reforms are implemented immediately so this crisis never occurs again.”
AB 56 seeks to address the many issues plaguing EDD that have negatively impacted working families throughout California. Among these issues, EDD answers only 6 percent of the 4.8 million phone calls they receive. For those individuals who have received their benefits, tens-of-thousands have had their EDD debit cards mistakenly frozen by Bank of America and can no longer access their money. The state also faces an uphill battle to curb fraudulent activities, which is estimated to be over $11.4 billion. Law enforcement agencies across the state are routinely breaking up EDD fraud schemes that criminals are using to buy weapons and drugs.
AB 56 will address these issues by requiring EDD to create a new unit to coordinate all fraud prevention efforts, requiring EDD to obtain a list of all frozen Bank of America accounts to make sure they were not incorrectly frozen, and creating a working group to take action on expediting EDD’s claims process. Additionally, the bill will require EDD to reform their crosschecking system with new claimants to prevent against fraud by coordinating with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to ensure that benefits are not sent to incarcerated individuals. Lastly, AB 56 will hold EDD accountable by requiring EDD to provide free identity theft monitoring services if it continues to put Californians at risk of identity theft.
AB 56 will now head to Governor’s desk.