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AB-1377 CalFresh. (2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/22/2019 09:00 PM
AB1377:v97#DOCUMENT

Revised  April 25, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 22, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 03, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1377


Introduced by Assembly Member Wicks
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mathis)

February 22, 2019


An act to add Section 49557.4 to the Education Code, and to amend Section 18901.55 of, and to add and repeal Section 18901.56 to, of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalFresh.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1377, as amended, Wicks. CalFresh.
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 law requires each school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to provide for each needy pupil one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday, as specified. Existing law provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services, under which qualified low-income individuals receive health care services. Existing law provides for the establishment of a statewide electronic benefits transfer system, administered by the State Department of Social Services, for the purpose of providing financial and food assistance benefits.

Existing law requires each school district or county superintendent of schools maintaining kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to provide for each needy pupil one nutritionally adequate free or reduced-price meal during each schoolday, as specified, and authorizes a school district or county office of education to use funds available through any federal or state program for those purposes, as specified. Existing law authorizes each school district or county office of education to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the local agency that determines CalFresh program eligibility to share information regarding the School Lunch Program. If a county has entered into that MOU, existing law requires the county to enroll the child in CalFresh if the child is eligible.

This bill would require, on and after July 1, 2020, except as specified, if a county is informed that a child meets federal eligibility criteria for free and reduced-price meals, the child to be deemed automatically eligible for the CalFresh program, unless federal law makes that child ineligible, and the parent or guardian to be notified of this determination. The bill would require the State Department of Education and the State Department of Social Services to work together with stakeholders, including, but not limited to, representatives of school nutrition programs and representatives of the local agencies that determine CalFresh program eligibility, to develop a statewide process for implementing the Automatic Student Eligibility for CalFresh Program as described by the bill. By imposing a higher level of service on county officials, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The bill would also require the State Department of Social Services to issue all necessary guidance to county human services agencies and to communicate with the State Department of Education regarding the implementation of the program no later than April 30, 2020.

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.

This bill would require the State Department of Education, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the State Department of Social Services to work together with specified stakeholders to develop a proposed statewide process for using data collected for purposes of the CalFresh program, Medi-Cal, free and reduced-price school meals programs, and the electronic benefits transfer system to increase enrollment in the CalFresh program, as provided. The bill would require those departments to submit recommendations on that process and related issues to the relevant policy committees of the Legislature on or before August 31, 2020.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YESNO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 18901.56 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

18901.56.
 (a) The State Department of Education, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the State Department of Social Services shall work together with stakeholders, including, but not limited to, representatives of school nutrition programs, representatives of local agencies that determine CalFresh program eligibility, family advocates, immigrant advocates, food policy advocates, and representatives of the automated systems that support free and reduced-price school meals programs, Medi-Cal, the CalFresh program, and the electronic benefits transfer system, to develop a proposed statewide process for using data collected for purposes of those four programs, in addition to any necessary outreach or referrals to relevant county agencies, to increase enrollment in the CalFresh program. This process shall be targeted toward the families of pupils who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals in order to increase the enrollment of these families in the CalFresh program and to simplify and accelerate the CalFresh program enrollment process to the greatest extent possible.
(b) The State Department of Education, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the State Department of Social Services, with input from the stakeholders described in subdivision (a), shall do all of the following:
(1) Collaboratively examine data from free and reduced-price school meals programs, Medi-Cal, the CalFresh program, and the electronic benefits transfer system to estimate the number of children whose families could potentially be eligible for enrollment in the CalFresh program.
(2) Research past efforts to increase enrollment of these families, including, but not limited to, efforts taken pursuant to Assembly Bill 402 (Chapter 504 of the Statutes of 2011). To the extent past efforts did not result in a significant increase in enrollment, the departments shall review the issues that precluded these efforts from being more effective and shall propose ways to address those issues.
(3) Discuss and determine possible ways to resolve issues that could arise in developing the proposed statewide process, including how to bridge different data systems, different definitions of key variables such as household composition and income, and different data verification processes that exist for each of the four programs.
(4) Examine different approaches, such as accelerated enrollment, a referral process, increased outreach, or other activities identified by the departments that could increase enrollment.
(5) Understand the differing data usage requirements, data sharing and confidentiality requirements, and other potential constraints governing the data used for each of the four programs and determine what federal authorization or state law changes, if any, would be needed to facilitate the processes identified by the departments.
(6) Identify any waivers from the federal government or changes to federal or state law that would be required to implement the processes the departments believe would be most effective for sharing data to increase enrollment in the CalFresh program.
(7) Determine how to implement, in the most streamlined way possible, any consent process required by state or federal law and how best to incorporate informed consent protocols into any recommended process for sharing data to increase enrollment in the CalFresh program.
(c) (1) On or before August 31, 2020, the State Department of Education, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the State Department of Social Services shall submit recommendations pursuant to this section, and on any other issues they identify relating to increasing enrollment in the CalFresh program, to the relevant policy committees of the Legislature for consideration in a subsequent legislative session.
(2) Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this section is repealed on January 1, 2025.

SECTION 1.Section 49557.4 is added to the Education Code, to read:
49557.4.

(a)The department and the State Department of Social Services shall work together with stakeholders, including, but not limited to, representatives of school nutrition programs and representatives of the local agencies that determine CalFresh program eligibility, to develop a statewide process for implementing the Automatic Student Eligibility for CalFresh Program as described in Section 18901.56 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. This process shall be targeted at students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The departments, with input from the stakeholder group, shall determine how to implement, in the most streamlined way possible, any consent process that is required by state or federal law.

(b)The State Department of Social Services and the local agencies that determine CalFresh program eligibility shall use information provided on a School Lunch Program application only for purposes directly related to the enrollment of families in the CalFresh program.

(c)The School Lunch Program application is confidential, and, with the exception of sharing necessary information pursuant to the process developed under subdivision (a), the information on the application for use in CalFresh program enrollment consistent with Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 18900) of Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the school district, county superintendent of schools, or CalFresh program administrators shall not share the information or use the information for any purpose other than enrollment in the CalFresh program, except as otherwise required by law.

(d)This section shall become operative on July 1, 2020.

SEC. 2.Section 18901.55 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
18901.55.

(a)If a county has entered into a memorandum of understanding pursuant to Section 49557.3 of the Education Code, the county shall use the procedure described in this section to determine CalFresh program eligibility for children whose information is shared with the county pursuant to Section 49557.3 of the Education Code, and, if the child is eligible, the county to enroll the child in the CalFresh program, upon receipt of a signed CalFresh program application.

(b)Upon receipt of information on the School Lunch Program application pursuant to this section for a pupil who is not already enrolled in the CalFresh program, the county shall treat the application as an application for the CalFresh program. For purposes of administration of the CalFresh program, the application date shall be the date that the application is received by the county human services department. If the county determines that the pupil is already enrolled in the CalFresh program, it shall not take any further action. Unless otherwise prohibited by federal law or regulation, for purposes of expedited service processing, a county shall request information necessary for processing an application at the first point of contact following receipt of information. If information is provided to determine whether the household meets the criteria for expedited service, the expedited timeframe processing timeframes shall apply from the point of first contact. For the processing of other households, the processing timeframes shall apply from the point at which the county has received sufficient information in order to process the application.

(c)(1)If the county determines from information on the School Lunch Program application and supporting documents that the child or the child’s family meets the income eligibility requirements for participation in the CalFresh program, the county shall notify the parent or guardian of the child that the child or the child’s family has been found eligible for the CalFresh program.

(2)Effective July 1, 2020, if the county is provided information through the implementation of this section that indicates a child meets federal eligibility criteria for free and reduced-price meals as defined in Section 49531 of the Education Code, the child is eligible for the CalFresh program, unless federal law makes the child ineligible, and the parent or guardian shall be notified of this determination and be provided an opportunity to apply for the program for additional family members.

(d)If the county is unable to determine from the information on the application whether the child or the child’s family is eligible for the CalFresh program, the county shall contact the parent or guardian of the child to seek any additional information regarding income, household composition, or deductions that the county may determine to be necessary to complete the CalFresh program application. If the county determines that the child or the child’s family does not meet the eligibility requirements for participation in the CalFresh program, the county shall notify the parent or guardian of the child of the determination.

(e)Each county shall request the parent or guardian of each child whom the county determines meets the eligibility requirements for participation in the CalFresh program under subdivision (c) to provide additional documentation as required by current law necessary for retention of eligibility in the CalFresh program.

(f)If a parent or guardian of a child does not provide the documentation required for retention of CalFresh program eligibility, as requested pursuant to subdivision (e), the county shall deny or discontinue CalFresh program benefits in accordance with existing regulations and laws.

SEC. 3.Section 18901.56 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
18901.56.

(a)There is hereby created the Automatic Student Eligibility for CalFresh Program as described in this section.

(b)Under the Automatic Student Eligibility for CalFresh Program, any student who meets federal eligibility criteria for free and reduced-price meals, as defined in Section 49531 of the Education Code, shall be deemed automatically eligible for the CalFresh program, unless federal law makes that student ineligible for the CalFresh program.

(c)(1)No later than April 30, 2020, the department shall issue all necessary guidance to county human services agencies and shall communicate with the State Department of Education to ensure instructions are issued to each school district and county office of education regarding the implementation of this program. That communication shall include, but not be limited to, details on the process developed by the department and the State Department of Education, with input from stakeholders, for implementation of the program statewide, and the duties of school districts, local offices of education, and the county agencies that determine eligibility for CalFresh, if any.

(2)All affected departments and agencies shall communicate and are hereby authorized to share personally identifying data as necessary to ensure maximum enrollment of children eligible for the Categorical Student Eligibility for CalFresh program. Necessary information to be securely transmitted to the department and counties shall include, but may not be limited to, the child’s name, date of birth, social security number, if known, school nutrition program enrollment status, name of parent or guardian, telephone number, and address.

(d)The department and the State Department of Education shall engage stakeholders to determine the best way of communicating to parents and guardians applying for the School Lunch Program that a child who meets federal eligibility criteria for free or reduced-price meals is also eligible for CalFresh benefits and information regarding any consent protocols developed pursuant to Section 49557.4 of the Education Code.

(e)Each county shall request the parent or guardian of each child whom the county determines meets the eligibility requirements for participation in the CalFresh program under this section to provide additional documentation as required by current law necessary for retention of eligibility in the CalFresh program. The county shall also provide the parent or guardian an opportunity to apply for CalFresh for themselves or other members of the household at that time.

(f)This section, except paragraph (1) of subparagraph (c), shall become operative on July 1, 2020.

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.

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REVISIONS:
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