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Sanford signs ESC reform into law

Mar 30, 2010 6:53:00 PM - thestate.com
Gov. Mark Sanford this morning signed into law a bill that will give the governor unprecedented authority over the state?s jobless agency, while changing the way the office that administers the state unemployment trust fund works.

Sanford, who has long been a critic of the Employment Security Commission, thanked state lawmakers for sending him a reform bill.

"As we've made clear for more than a year and a half now, the ESC's ineptitude and disturbing lack of accountability have had real world consequences - from $171 million in inexplicable payments to people who were fired for good reason and a failure to even investigate fraud since 2008, to an estimated Unemployment Trust Fund shortfall of nearly two billion dollars," Sanford said in a statement.

"This legislation both increases accountability to the taxpayers and restores the core mission of connecting people looking for a job with employment opportunities," the governor said. "For that reason, I'd give real credit to legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle - especially Senators Greg Ryberg, Nikki Setzler and Joel Lourie, as well as Representatives Kenny Bingham and Jim Battle. Also, I'd single out Senator Chip Campsen for ensuring that the legislation protected taxpayers and the Unemployment Trust Fund by taking the commonsense approach of denying benefits to those fired for gross misconduct."

The new law will give Sanford and future governors the authority to appoint or remove the director of the new Department of Employment and Workforce and will make the former three-member Employment Security Commission an appellate body that will hear unemployment cases. The commission used to oversee the agency and hire its director.