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S.C. House Introduces Immediate Action ESC Reforms

January 13, 2010

Office of the Speaker



January 13, 2010

Contact: Greg Foster

(803) 734-3125

House Introduces Immediate Action ESC Reforms

Our state’s unemployed need a reformed agency the most

(Columbia, SC) – Today, the House introduced a series of “Immediate Action ESC Reforms” (H. 4303) to reduce costs, increase oversight, and better connect our state’s unemployed with job opportunities.

The cost saving reforms include restricting state payouts to employees fired for gross misconduct such as fighting, theft, and illegal drug use, and restricting claims filed by employers that have cost the system more than they have paid in.  Structural reforms include cooperation with the Budget and Control Board to share data among state agencies that help the state’s unemployed train and find jobs.  As to oversight, the ESC would have to increase fraud and abuse investigations and submit internal and federal reviews of Commissioner decisions to the General Assembly.

While the House is still working on a complete restructuring of the Commission, these are common sense reforms that should be immediately enacted to help the Commission better serve our citizens.  House Speaker Bobby Harrell made the following statement about the Immediate Action ESC Reform bill introduced today:

“We need to reform the Employment Security Commission from a check writing agency to a job placement agency.

“Over the past several years, we have seen how oversights and failures at the Employment Security Commission have cost our citizens opportunities and jobs.  The immediate need for reform was highlighted last year when lawmakers had to return for a special session to prevent thousands of unemployed South Carolinians from losing their federal jobless benefits because of a simple oversight by the Commission.

“Our state’s unemployed need an effective employment agency that will work hand-in-hand with our goal of lowering our state’s high unemployment rate and will put our citizens back to work.

“During the off-session, the ESC Reform Subcommittee – Chaired by Rep. Kenny Bingham – worked tirelessly to craft the immediate action reforms introduced today.  Because of the detailed work of the Subcommittee, these immediate action recommendations have gained widespread support among the members of the House.  While a complete restructuring of the Commission is still in the works for this session, these recommendations introduced today should be enacted immediately.  I urge the Commissioners to act swiftly and enact these positive reforms so we can better connect those without jobs with the employment opportunities currently available.

“A complete restructuring of ESC will be a major priority for the House this year, because it is an even bigger priority for our state’s unemployed who need these reforms the most.”

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