Gov. Sanford signs bill to extend unemployment benefits

By Live 5 News Staff email | twitter

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - The bill that was the focus of the state legislature's special session this week has been signed into law by Gov. Mark Sanford. Senate bill 374, which extends benefits to the unemployed under the stimulus act.

The bill passed unanimously in the Statehouse and the governor called it a necessary measure after an oversight by the Employment Security Commission.

"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.

Sanford pushed for reforms of the ESC during the next legislative session, citing an unemployment fund deficit of nearly $1 billion and possible tax increases on businesses as rationale.

"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."

"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.

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