State senators advance confirmation of acting labor director
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite ongoing problems with the state’s unemployment system, the acting state labor director got a vote of confidence from members of the state senate.
Anne Perreira-Estaquio was appointed to the role in September of last year, filling the spot vacated by Scott Murakami after he resigned in the summer as thousands of Hawaii residents awaited unemployment payments as a result of the pandemic.
Perreira-Estaquio faced little opposition at her confirmation hearing Wednesday. She’s on path to keep the job permanently, but advocates for unpaid unemployed people said she hasn’t made enough progress.
“People shouldn’t be going through all this stress to meet their basic needs, so we are asking that you please hold this nomination until we can start addressing these issues. Working families need real relief right now,” Jun Shin of the Hawaii Workers Center said.
Perreira-Estaquio said acknowledged the outdated infrastructure of the state’s unemployment system, but said the team continues to do the best they can to ensure payments are sent out.
“With inadequate technological tools, complex and inefficient programs, and a lack of resources, the team continues to steadfastly march on,” she told state senators.
Sen. Favella added, “I didn’t realize how difficult and how old the system was. A lot of people don’t know that and we don’t fix it until it breaks.”
The senate labor committee voted unanimously to recommend Perreira-Estaquio be confirmed by the senate in a vote that should happen in the coming days.
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