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AB-85 General assistance: employable veterans.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 01/05/2017 08:55 PM
AB85:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 85


Introduced by Assembly Member Rodriguez

January 05, 2017


An act to amend, repeal, and add Section 17001.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to general assistance.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 85, as introduced, Rodriguez. General assistance: employable veterans.
Existing law requires each county to provide aid to its indigent residents not supported by other means. These county programs are known as general assistance programs. Existing law permits a county to prohibit an employable individual from receiving general assistance benefits for more than 3 months in any 12-month period, whether or not the months are consecutive, if he or she has been offered an opportunity to attend job skills or job training sessions.
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2018, exempt from that prohibition an employable veteran who was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces, unless the county enacts an ordinance making the prohibition applicable to an employable veteran who was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces. By requiring a county to expand eligibility for general assistance programs, or enact an ordinance to make the prohibition applicable to an employable veteran, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known and may be cited as the General Assistance “Thank You for Your Service” Act of 2017.

SEC. 2.

 Section 17001.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

17001.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including, but not limited to, Section 17000.5, the board of supervisors of each county, or the agency authorized by the county charter, may do any of the following:
(1) (A) Adopt residency requirements for purposes of determining a persons’ eligibility for general assistance. Any residence requirement under this paragraph shall not exceed 15 days.
(B) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to authorize the adoption of a requirement that an applicant or recipient have an address or to require a homeless person to acquire an address.
(2) (A) Establish a standard of general assistance for applicants and recipients who share housing with one or more unrelated persons or with one or more persons who are not legally responsible for the applicant or recipient. The standard of general assistance aid established pursuant to Section 17000.5 for a single adult applicant or recipient may be reduced pursuant to this paragraph by not more than the following percentages, as appropriate:
(i) Fifteen percent if the applicant or recipient shares housing with one other person described in this subparagraph.
(ii) Twenty percent if the applicant or recipient shares housing with two other persons described in this subparagraph.
(iii) Twenty-five percent if the applicant or recipient shares housing with three or more other persons described in this paragraph.
(B) Any standard of aid adopted pursuant to this paragraph shall constitute a sufficient standard of aid for any recipient who shares housing.
(C) Counties with shared housing reductions larger than the amounts specified in subparagraph (A) as of August 19, 1992, may continue to apply those adjustments.
(3) Discontinue aid under this part for a period of not more than 180 days with respect to any recipient who is employable and has received aid under this part for three months if the recipient engages in any of the following conduct:
(A) Fails, or refuses, without good cause, to participate in a qualified job training program, participation of which is a condition of receipt of assistance.
(B) After completion of a job training program, fails, or refuses, without good cause, to accept an offer of appropriate employment.
(C) Persistently fails, or refuses, without good cause, to cooperate with the county in its efforts to do any of the following:
(i) Enroll the recipient in a job training program.
(ii) After completion of a job training program, locate and secure appropriate employment for the recipient.
(D) For purposes of this paragraph, lack of good cause may be demonstrated by a showing of any of the following:
(i) The willful failure, or refusal, of the recipient to participate in a job training program, accept appropriate employment, or cooperate in enrolling in a training program or locating employment.
(ii) Not less than three separate acts of negligent failure of the recipient to engage in any of the activities described in clause (i).
(4) Prohibit an employable individual from receiving aid under this part for more than three months in any 12-month period, whether or not the months are consecutive. This paragraph shall apply to aid received on or after the effective date of this paragraph. This paragraph shall apply only to those individuals who have been offered an opportunity to attend job skills or job training sessions.
(5) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), discontinue aid to, or sanction, recipients for failure or refusal without good cause to follow program requirements. For purposes of this subdivision, lack of good cause may be demonstrated by a showing of either (A) willful failure or refusal of the recipient to follow program requirements, or (B) not less than three separate acts of negligent failure of the recipient to follow program requirements.
(b) (1) The Legislative Analyst shall conduct an evaluation of the impact of this section on general assistance recipients and applicants.
(2) The evaluation required by paragraph (1) shall include, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
(A) The impact on the extent of homelessness among applicants and recipients of general assistance.
(B) The rate at which recipients of general assistance are sanctioned by county welfare departments.
(C) The impact of the 15-day residency requirement on applicants or recipients of general assistance, including how often the requirement is invoked.
(3) The Legislative Analyst shall, in the conduct of the study required by this section, consult with the State Department of Social Services, the County Welfare Directors Association, and organizations that advocate on behalf of recipients of general assistance.
(c) A county may provide aid pursuant to Section 17000.5 either by cash assistance, in-kind aid, a two-party payment, voucher payment, or check drawn to the order of a third-party provider of services to the recipient. Nothing shall restrict a county from providing more than one method of aid to an individual recipient.
(d) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2018, and, as of January 1, 2019, is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 17001.5 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

17001.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, including, but not limited to, Section 17000.5, the board of supervisors of each county, or the agency authorized by the county charter, may do any of the following:
(1) (A) Adopt residency requirements for purposes of determining a person’s eligibility for general assistance. Any residence requirement under this paragraph shall not exceed 15 days.
(B) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to authorize the adoption of a requirement that an applicant or recipient have an address or to require a homeless person to acquire an address.
(2) (A) Establish a standard of general assistance for applicants and recipients who share housing with one or more unrelated persons or with one or more persons who are not legally responsible for the applicant or recipient. The standard of general assistance aid established pursuant to Section 17000.5 for a single adult applicant or recipient may be reduced pursuant to this paragraph by not more than the following percentages, as appropriate:
(i) Fifteen percent if the applicant or recipient shares housing with one other person described in this subparagraph.
(ii) Twenty percent if the applicant or recipient shares housing with two other persons described in this subparagraph.
(iii) Twenty-five percent if the applicant or recipient shares housing with three or more other persons described in this paragraph.
(B) Any standard of aid adopted pursuant to this paragraph shall constitute a sufficient standard of aid for any recipient who shares housing.
(C) Counties with shared housing reductions larger than the amounts specified in subparagraph (A) as of August 19, 1992, may continue to apply those adjustments.
(3) Discontinue aid under this part for a period of not more than 180 days with respect to any recipient who is employable and has received aid under this part for three months if the recipient engages in any of the following conduct:
(A) Fails, or refuses, without good cause, to participate in a qualified job training program, participation of which is a condition of receipt of assistance.
(B) After completion of a job training program, fails, or refuses, without good cause, to accept an offer of appropriate employment.
(C) Persistently fails, or refuses, without good cause, to cooperate with the county in its efforts to do any of the following:
(i) Enroll the recipient in a job training program.
(ii) After completion of a job training program, locate and secure appropriate employment for the recipient.
(D) For purposes of this paragraph, lack of good cause may be demonstrated by a showing of any of the following:
(i) The willful failure, or refusal, of the recipient to participate in a job training program, accept appropriate employment, or cooperate in enrolling in a training program or locating employment.
(ii) Not less than three separate acts of negligent failure of the recipient to engage in any of the activities described in clause (i).
(4) (A) Prohibit an employable individual, other than an employable veteran who was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces, from receiving aid under this part for more than three months in any 12-month period, whether or not the months are consecutive. This paragraph shall apply only to those individuals who have been offered an opportunity to attend job skills or job training sessions.
(B) The board of supervisors of a county may enact an ordinance providing that any employable individual is subject to the limitation contained in subparagraph (A) notwithstanding the fact that he or she is an employable veteran who was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
(5) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), discontinue aid to, or sanction, recipients for failure or refusal without good cause to follow program requirements. For purposes of this subdivision, lack of good cause may be demonstrated by a showing of either (A) willful failure or refusal of the recipient to follow program requirements, or (B) not less than three separate acts of negligent failure of the recipient to follow program requirements.
(b) (1) The Legislative Analyst shall conduct an evaluation of the impact of this section on general assistance recipients and applicants.
(2) The evaluation required by paragraph (1) shall include, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
(A) The impact on the extent of homelessness among applicants and recipients of general assistance.
(B) The rate at which recipients of general assistance are sanctioned by county welfare departments.
(C) The impact of the 15-day residency requirement on applicants or recipients of general assistance, including how often the requirement is invoked.
(3) The Legislative Analyst shall, in the conduct of the study required by this section, consult with the State Department of Social Services, the County Welfare Directors Association, and organizations that advocate on behalf of recipients of general assistance.
(c) A county may provide aid pursuant to Section 17000.5 either by cash assistance, in-kind aid, a two-party payment, voucher payment, or check drawn to the order of a third-party provider of services to the recipient. Nothing shall restrict a county from providing more than one method of aid to an individual recipient.
(d) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2018.

SEC. 4.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.