Gov. Sanford today signed into law Senate bill 374, which extends benefits to the unemployed under the stimulus act. The bill passed with unanimous, bipartisan support and was made necessary by an oversight at the Employment Security Commission (ESC).
"The fact that this bill was even necessary is yet another reminder that reforming the ESC is imperative if we're going to address the unemployment issue in a serious way," Gov. Sanford said. "I'd give real credit to Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter for offering a legislative solution to this problem earlier this year, and to Rep. Kenny Bingham for moving quickly to get the issue resolved once it came fully to light. Given the continued lack of meaningful reform at the ESC, an Unemployment Insurance Fund deficit fast approaching $1 billion, and the potential of counterproductive tax increases on the state's businesses, it's my hope that we can move forward on reforming the agency as quickly as possible in this next legislative session."
"While it's good that the unemployed across South Carolina will in fact receive these extended federal benefits because of the General Assembly's prompt action," Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said, "this potentially harmful oversight shines a spotlight on the pressing need for reforming the Employment Security Commission. We were within a few votes of passing substantive reform legislation earlier this year, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Governor's Office to push it through this coming session."
"I appreciate the fact that my colleagues in the General Assembly took care of this problem with all deliberate speed, so that South Carolinians looking for work don't have to bear the consequences of mistakes they had nothing to do with," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter.
This bill goes into effect immediately, and also is retroactive for those whose unemployment benefits have already been stopped.