SACRAMENTO In his first act after taking the oath of office, newly-elected Assemblymember Kelly Seyarto, representing California’s 67th district, introduced legislation to protect citizens from identity theft and fight unemployment insurance fraud at the state’s beleaguered Employment Development Department.
AB 12 is an urgency measure that will require EDD to stop including an individual’s personal Social Security number on mailed documents by July of this year. Current law establishes a deadline of January 1, 2023 to make this correction, but an immediate response is needed.
“With the magnitude of potential fraud, and numerous reports of fraud already under investigation, expedited protection is crucial to safeguard the millions of California citizens at risk,” said Assemblyman Seyarto. “This bill is a common sense fix to EDD procedure that protects Californians’ privacy and will help reduce the backlog of millions of claims held up by fraudulent filings. Full social security numbers are being incorrectly delivered to strangers while others wait months for benefits. This is unacceptable and Californians deserve better service from their government.”
In November, the California State Auditor, who previously warned EDD that this practice needlessly exposes California workers to identity theft, announced that over 38 million letters containing full social security numbers were mailed out since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to working towards streamlining government agencies and improving their services, Assemblyman Seyarto will focus his efforts in Sacramento on issues important to his district. These include taxpayer protections, promoting public safety, fire management and prevention measures, and working towards an economic recovery that supports both small business owners and workers.
“California is facing an economic crisis like no other,” Seyarto said. “We need to get people back to work safely. We will also need to take a long hard look at reducing the cost of living and improving quality of life to ensure all Californians and businesses can afford to stay in our beautiful state.”
Seyarto comes to the Assembly after 35 years as a firefighter. In 2015, he retired after achieving the rank of Battalion Chief.
"Fire prevention is something to which I have devoted most of my life,” Seyarto said. “With the growing threat of wildfires throughout the state, I will continue promoting fire safety and prevention while serving in the Assembly, starting with forest management and infrastructure improvements.”
Seyarto served twice on the Murrieta City Council, first from 1997 through 2006, and second from 2016 until this year, when he proudly served as mayor. He took time off between the two terms to spend more time with his family.
In his free time, Seyarto has held leadership positions with the Boys and Girls Club, the League of California Cities Public Safety Committee and the Western Riverside Council of Governments. He lives in Murrieta with his wife Denise of 33 years and he has three daughters.