California lawmakers are getting their first pay raise in six years next month, and unlike previous increases, only a handful are turning down the larger paycheck.
The independent commission that sets pay and benefits for 120 legislators and 12 constitutional officers trimmed compensation as the state struggled through the recession. But with the economy on the rise and tax revenue ticking up, the panel decided that a 5.3 percent partial restoration – to $95,291 from $90,526 annually for rank-and-file lawmakers – was appropriate beginning Dec. 1.
“For this we are very sorry,” said Sharon Hilliard, the Employment Development Department’s Chief Deputy Director.
270,000 Californians went without service, went without answers, and most importantly went without unemployment benefits – rent, groceries, gas – as a result of a computer system update.
As officials in charge of a computer problem that delayed jobless benefits for nearly 150,000 Californians appeared for the first time before an Assembly committee Wednesday, front-line employees testified the department is still buckling under a backlog of calls.
Irene Livingston, an employment program representative for the Employment Development Department in San Jose, said it remains “nearly impossible” for out-of-work Californians to reach an employee at EDD. She told members of the Assembly Insurance Committee the department is overwhelmed with telephone calls and an email system that remains backlogged.
SACRAMENTO – On Wednesday, Assemblyman Ken Cooley participated in the Assembly Insurance Committee oversight hearing on the disrupted deployment of the California Employment Development Department’s new unemployment insurance system and delays to benefit disbursement. During the hearing, the Committee listened to EDD clients who have not received unemployment insurance benefits since the deployment of the new system in early September.
“This has been a calamity for the 148,000 people who are at a dire time in their lives and need this help,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley. “To have this happen is a colossal problem. We need to find out what went wrong and what we can learn from it.”
October 25, 2013 - State Controller John Chiang has sent letters to the Mariposa County local governments listed below after they failed to file financial and accounting reports required under State law.
Lake Don Pedro Community Services District and Yosemite-Alpine Community Services District.
Two state lawmakers Monday said California should pour more money into rapidly mapping known active earthquake faults, a safety measure that would keep new construction from being built atop dangerous faults.
“The more we know,” said state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), “the better we can plan.”
Gov. Jerry Brown wrapped up a busy legislative session last Sunday in which he signed 805 bills into law and vetoed 96. Midnight Sunday was the veto deadline.
Many of the bills have implications for California’s businesses and workers. There were a few standouts, such as new laws to raise the state’s minimum wage and eliminate enterprise zones, that business groups opposed.
SACRAMENTO – On October 1, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 934 (Cooley), requiring agencies that collect restitution on behalf of crime victims to make reasonable efforts to locate and distribute the money to the victim, before the agency distributes the money to itself or another local agency.
“Protecting victims of crime and aiding their recovery is a top priority in our state, yet sometimes victims do not get the funds earmarked for them by the courts and are forced to rebuild their lives without this help,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley. “This bill helps ensure a compensated victim is found and given the restitution they are owed so that they may start on the path to rebuilding their life.”
When it comes to mixing insurance and politics, the two might as well be one in the same for California Assemblyman Ken Cooley.
Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, started his career in the 1970s working on earthquake issues with a unit of government in the San Francisco Bay area. Since that time, Cooley has mixed the businesses of insurance and politics quite often and quite well.