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AB-2054 Nutrition assistance: Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children.(2015-2016)

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Amended  IN  Senate  June 30, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 27, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2054


Introduced by Assembly Member Thurmond
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gonzalez)

February 17, 2016


An act to add Section 10072.2 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2054, as amended, Thurmond. Nutrition assistance: Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children.
Existing law establishes the California Health and Human Services Agency. The agency includes various departments that administer social services in this state, including the State Department of Social Services.
Existing federal law provides for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in California as CalFresh, under which supplemental nutrition assistance benefits allocated to the state by the federal government are distributed to eligible individuals by each county. Existing state law authorizes a county to deliver CalFresh benefits through the use of an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system.
This bill would require the California Health and Human Services Agency, in conjunction with any other relevant state agencies, Agency to designate the appropriate agency or agencies to design and implement the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) to provide nutrition assistance benefits to eligible households. The bill would require that the system be compatible with the state’s electronic benefits transfer system, comply with federal laws and regulations, and comply with privacy and confidentiality procedures consistent with all applicable state and federal law. The bill would require, among other things, the agency, and any other state agency, as specified, to Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency to designate the appropriate state agency which would be required to request or apply for federal approval or authorization necessary to implement and operate SEBTC. The bill would also require each agency to request or apply for all available federal funding to implement and operate SEBTC. The bill would require the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency secretary to notify in a timely manner the appropriate head of each additional agency that is required to request or apply for federal approval or authorization so as to permit the other agency or agencies sufficient time to complete the process. The bill would provide that the provision of SEBTC benefits to eligible households is contingent upon federal funding for this purpose. The bill would also include a statement of legislative findings and declarations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Across California, two in every five low-income households with children cannot consistently afford enough food. In all, 1.7 million Californians live in these food-insecure households.
(b) Eighty percent, or 1.8 million, of the children in California who benefit from nutritious, free or reduced-price school lunches miss out on similar meals during the summer. This summer nutrition gap has persisted for over a decade.
(c) Children need consistent access to nutritious meals in order to learn, grow, and achieve at their fullest potential. All children deserve to be well nourished.
(d) Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children, hereinafter known as SEBTC, is a well-tested model shown to decrease food insecurity among children and adults and improve the quality of children’s diets.
(e) By providing nutrition assistance benefits for the purchase of groceries when school is out of session and school meals are not available, SEBTC would draw federal dollars into California households with schoolage children and into the state and local economies.
(f) As Congress prepares to expand SEBTC, California should seize all opportunities to ensure that the expansion benefits our state.
(g) Given California’s persistent summer nutrition gap and the positive effects of SEBTC, the state should design a an SEBTC system for California and seek all available federal funding and federal authority to operate the system.

SEC. 2.

 Section 10072.2 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

10072.2.
 (a) (1) The California Health and Human Services Agency, in conjunction with any other state agency described in paragraph (2), shall Agency shall designate the appropriate agency or agencies to design and implement the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) to provide nutrition assistance benefits to eligible households.
(2) If federal law requires a state agency other than the California Health and Human Services Agency or agencies to obtain federal approval or authorization in order to carry out the requirements of this section, that state agency the Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency shall designate the appropriate state agency, which shall request or apply for the necessary federal approval or authorization. The Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency shall notify in a timely manner the appropriate head of each additional agency that is required to request or apply for that approval or authorization so as to permit the other agency or agencies sufficient time to complete the process.
(b) The system described in subdivision (a) shall be compatible with the state’s electronic benefits transfer system pursuant to Section 10072 and comply with any federal laws and regulations governing SEBTC.
(c) The system described in subdivision (a) shall comply with privacy and confidentiality procedures consistent with all applicable state and federal law.
(d) Each agency identified in subdivision (a) shall do both of the following:
(1) Request or apply for federal approval or authorization necessary to implement and operate SEBTC and support the request or application of any other state agency, if necessary.
(2) Request or apply for all available federal funding to assist the state in implementing and operating SEBTC and support the request or application of any other state agency, if necessary, to obtain all available federal funds for that purpose.
(e) The provision of SEBTC benefits to eligible households pursuant to this section is contingent upon federal funding for this purpose.
(f) For purposes of this section, “Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children” or “SEBTC” means a program, pilot, or demonstration project that, during periods when school is out of session, provides nutrition assistance benefits via electronic benefits transfer to households with children who are within the relevant definitions and criteria in federal statutes and regulations that prescribe eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.