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AB-563 CalFresh Employment and Training program.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/21/2017 09:00 PM
AB563:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 21, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 23, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 13, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 563


Introduced by Assembly Member Arambula
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Mayes and Quirk-Silva)

February 14, 2017


An act to amend Section 18926.5 of, and to add Section 18926.4 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalFresh.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 563, as amended, Arambula. CalFresh Employment and Training program.
Existing law authorizes counties to participate in the CalFresh Employment and Training program (CalFresh E&T), established by federal law, and requires a participating county to demonstrate in its CalFresh E&T plan how it is effectively using CalFresh E&T funds for each of the specified components that the county offers, including work experience or training and job search. Existing law, for a county that elects to participate in the CalFresh E&T, requires an individual to be deferred from a mandatory placement in CalFresh E&T if he or she satisfies any of various criteria, including, among others, residing in a federally determined work surplus area. Existing federal law limits a participant who is an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) to 3 months of CalFresh benefits in a 3-year period unless that participant has met specified work participation requirements. Existing law directs the State Department of Social Services to annually seek a federal waiver of this limitation, and provides that an eligible county is included in this waiver unless the county declines to participate in the waiver request.
This bill, for a county that elects to participate in the CalFresh E&T, would prohibit a person who is subject to the able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit described above from mandatory placement in CalFresh E&T. The bill would authorize the department to prioritize the distribution of specified federal funding to voluntary programs that, among other things, are in areas of high unemployment. The bill would also require the State Department of Social Services require the department to establish the Center for CalFresh Employment and Training Excellence to assist the state and counties to further the goal of ensuring every CalFresh recipient has access to a high-quality employment and training program, as specified. The bill would require the center to serve as a state statewide repository of information on effective CalFresh employment and training methodologies, including, but not limited to, curriculum, contracting templates, and outcomes research and to conduct research research. The bill would require the center to work with the state, counties, and partner organizations to collect information, conduct research, and provide technical assistance to counties that wish to implement outcome-based improve or implement CalFresh E&T programs. The bill would authorize the department to contract with a 3rd party to establish the center.
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) Unemployed Californians who would like to work should be supported in their employment and training goals.
(b) Underemployed Californians who are impoverished due to lack of education or relevant skills should not be relegated to poverty if they would like to improve their skills and education.
(c) A strong safety net is not only one that prevents the long-lasting harm of poverty, but also offers an opportunity for people to exit poverty and earn enough to not need the safety net.
(d) The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) program makes available to states a limited amount of 100 percent funding and an uncapped amount of 50 percent reimbursement funding for states offering E&T services to SNAP recipients. The 100 percent funding is allocated to states, which, in turn, California makes available to counties based on the number of work registrants or able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) in participating counties.
(e) The CalFresh E&T program helps Californians who are low income to complete training and education while also receiving the antihunger help they need to stay healthy while they build their future without poverty.
(f) Approximately 35 of California’s 58 counties are participating in the CalFresh E&T program.
(g) In 2015, the Fresno Bridge Academy (FBA) was selected by the United States Department of Agriculture as one of the 10 national pilots to support an Employment and Training pilot that would enable CalFresh recipients and their families to increase income levels enough to exit the safety net altogether.
(h) FBA is being replicated in other counties and is one of several bridge academies now erected in the Counties of Madera, Napa, and San Joaquin demonstrating that promising CalFresh E&T programs can be shared among counties to improve opportunities for CalFresh recipients throughout the state.
(i) It is the intent of the Legislature to support outcome-based innovation in the CalFresh E&T program, increase the number of low-income Californians who can benefit from programs like the FBA, and ensure that every Californian who wants, and is able, has access to employment that will allow him or her to exit poverty.

SEC. 2.

 Section 18926.4 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

18926.4.
 The department shall establish the Center for CalFresh Employment and Training Excellence. The purpose and mission of the center is to assist the state and counties to further the goal of ensuring every CalFresh recipient has access to a high-quality employment and training program that will result in an increase in his or her family income and a reduction in his or her need for CalFresh benefits to prevent hunger. The center shall serve as a state statewide repository of information on effective CalFresh employment and training methodologies, including, but not limited to, curriculum, contracting templates, and outcomes research. The center shall conduct research work with the state, counties, and partner organizations to collect information, conduct research, and provide technical assistance to counties that wish to implement outcome-based improve or implement CalFresh Employment and Training programs. programs, including outcome-based programs. The department may contract with a third party to establish the center.

SEC. 3.

 Section 18926.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18926.5.
 (a) For the purposes of this chapter, “CalFresh Employment and Training program” or “CalFresh E&T” means the program established under Section 6(d)(4)(B) of the federal Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 2015), Section 273.7 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and associated administrative notices published by the United States Department of Agriculture with the purpose of assisting members of CalFresh households in gaining skills, training, work, or experience that will increase their ability to obtain regular employment.
(b) (1) A county that elects to participate in the CalFresh Employment and Training (CalFresh E&T) program, as authorized by the federal Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. Sec. 2015), shall screen CalFresh work registrants to determine whether they will participate in, or be deferred from, CalFresh E&T. If deferred, a CalFresh work registrant may request to enroll in CalFresh E&T as a voluntary participant. An individual shall be deferred from a mandatory placement in CalFresh E&T if he or she satisfies any of the criteria in Sections 273.7 and 273.24 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, if he or she resides in a federally determined work surplus area, if he or she is a veteran who has been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces, if he or she is a victim of domestic violence, or if he or she is subject to the able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit pursuant to Section 18926.
(2) For purposes of this section, “deferred” has the same meaning as exempt.
(c) (1) A county participating in CalFresh E&T shall be required to demonstrate in its CalFresh E&T plan how it is effectively using CalFresh E&T funds for each of the components that the county offers, including, but which may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
(A) Self-initiated workfare.
(B) Work experience or training.
(C) Education.
(D) Job search.
(E) Job search training.
(F) Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act activities.
(G) Self-employment training.
(H) Job retention.
(I) Subsidized jobs.
(J) The support services or client reimbursements needed to participate in subparagraphs (A) to (I), inclusive, as allowed by federal and state law and guidance.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to This section does not require a county to offer a particular component as a part of its CalFresh E&T plan.
(d) Nothing in this section shall This section does not limit a county’s ability to condition the receipt of nonmedical benefits under Section 17000 on an individual’s participation in an employment and training or workfare program of the county’s choice, even if that program is financed in whole or in part with CalFresh E&T funds or match funds.
(e) Nothing in this section shall This section does not restrict the use of federal funds for the financing of CalFresh E&T programs.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to This section does not require a county to provide for workers’ compensation coverage for a CalFresh E&T participant. Notwithstanding Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200) of the Labor Code, a CalFresh E&T participant shall not be is not an employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation coverage, and a county shall have has no duty to provide workers’ compensation coverage for a CalFresh E&T participant.
(g) This section shall not be construed to does not prevent the department from entering into an agreement with an organization, institution, or agency, and, subject to approval of the state’s employment and training plan by the United States Department of Agriculture, from acting as the state entity for receipt of employment and training reimbursement from/through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on behalf of the organization, institution, or agency.

(h)The department may prioritize the distribution of federal employment and training funding to voluntary programs that are in areas of high unemployment or to programs that serve people impacted by the time limit on able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) pursuant to Section 18926, adults no longer eligible to receive CalWORKs benefits pursuant to Section 11454, adults reentering their community following a period of detention in jail or prison, foster youth, or disconnected youth.

(i)

(h) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the department may implement this section by all-county letters or similar instructions. Thereafter, the department shall adopt regulations to implement this section by October 1, 2019.