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SB-33 Electronic benefits transfer system.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/04/2020 09:00 PM
SB33:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  August 04, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  January 06, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 33


Introduced by Senator Skinner

December 03, 2018


An act to add Section 10072.4 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 33, as amended, Skinner. Electronic benefits transfer system.
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 federal law requires the Secretary of Agriculture to approve retail food stores to accept CalFresh benefits through online transactions if the secretary implements this program after a required demonstration project.
Existing law provides for the establishment of a statewide electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system, administered by the State Department of Social Services, for the purpose of providing financial and food assistance benefits. Existing law authorizes a county to deliver CalFresh benefits through the use of the EBT system.
This bill would require the department to convene a workgroup of interested stakeholders no later than February 1, 2021, to make recommendations to the department on how to prepare the EBT system to accommodate online purchases and to review online purchases using the EBT system, and to make recommendations to the department to ensure that consumer protections are in place for individuals making online purchases using the EBT system. The bill would also require the department to provide the workgroup technical assistance and assign staff to assist the workgroup in carrying out its responsibilities. The bill would authorize individual members of the workgroup, and any other stakeholder, to make additional recommendations on any item considered by the workgroup. The bill would require the department to review and analyze all recommendations and, by December 1, 2021, report to the Legislature regarding the recommendations. The bill would authorize the workgroup to continue meeting from January 1, 2022, to January 1, 2023, to develop recommendations on additional topics and assist the department, the Legislature, or both, on any topic relating to the EBT system.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 10072.4 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

10072.4.
 (a) (1) The State Department of Social Services shall convene a workgroup of interested stakeholders to make recommendations to the department on how to prepare the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system to accommodate online purchases if the ability to make online purchases using the EBT system is made available in California. review online purchases using the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system, and to make recommendations to the department to ensure that consumer protections are in place for individuals making online purchases using the EBT system.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), “interested stakeholders” includes individuals who utilize the EBT system, CalFresh advocates, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, county social workers or their representatives, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union representatives, United For Respect or other retail worker representatives, food industry representatives, grocery industry representatives, retailer industry representatives, payment technology provider industry representatives, restaurant industry representatives, farmers or farmers’ markets representatives, a representative of the Employment Development Department, advocates for persons of advanced age, persons with disabilities and disability rights advocates, and any other organization or individual identified by the department.
(b) (1) The department shall convene the stakeholder workgroup no later than February 1, 2021.  The stakeholder workgroup shall meet a minimum of six times, and may convene and meet in subcommittees, as necessary.
(2) The department shall assign staff, as needed, to assist the stakeholder workgroup in carrying out its responsibilities.
(3) The department shall provide technical assistance to the stakeholder workgroup to evaluate the feasibility of its recommendations, so that the stakeholder workgroup will have the benefit of the department’s analysis when discussing and reviewing proposed recommendations.
(c) The stakeholder workgroup shall make recommendations to the department regarding the use of the EBT system to make online purchases. strategies to provide consumer protection for individuals making online purchases using the EBT system, improved delivery experiences and associated delivery fees, and safety of food, including perishables. In developing recommendations, the stakeholder workgroup shall consider the structure of, and potential changes to, the EBT system.  The stakeholder workgroup may take into consideration all the following factors, or any other factors deemed relevant, to ensure the appropriateness of their recommendations:
(1) The precarious health of low-income consumers and need for food prepared and sold from a source where food safety is certain.
(2) The very low income of CalFresh and cash aid recipients and recipients, the harm of high fees. fees, and the limited options with which recipients may pay fees.
(3) The role that online purchasing can have in reducing barriers to healthy food for people who live in food deserts or people who live in communities without a grocery store.
(4) The impact that online EBT purchases might have on the current grocery, retail, and restaurant industry revenue and jobs.
(5) The limits Any limits, if any, in federal law and regulations that would prevent the state’s establishment of EBT policies on the topic.
(6) How to facilitate participation by additional grocery vendors throughout the state and in local communities.
(d) In addition to recommendations provided during stakeholder workgroup meetings, individual members of the stakeholder workgroup and any other interested stakeholders may provide to the department any additional written recommendations on the items considered in the stakeholder workgroup meetings.
(e) The department shall review and analyze all recommendations from the stakeholder workgroup, individual workgroup members, and any other interested stakeholders.
(f) (1) The department shall report the complete recommendations of the stakeholder workgroup, individual workgroup members, and any other interested stakeholders to the Legislature by December 1, 2021. The department may also include in the report the department’s analysis of the feasibility of implementing the proposed recommendations.
(2) A report submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(g) (1) The stakeholder workgroup may continue to meet on and after January 1, 2022, and until January 1, 2023.  During this period, the stakeholder workgroup shall meet at least quarterly, and as agreed to by the department and the members of the stakeholder workgroup.
(2) During this period, the stakeholder workgroup may develop recommendations regarding any improvements to the EBT system that are needed to enable online purchases and any consumer protections needed when the EBT system is available to make online purchases. Upon the completion of those recommendations, and until January 1, 2023, the stakeholder workgroup may assist the department, the Legislature, or both, on any topic relating to the EBT system.