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AB-612 CalFresh: Restaurant Meals Program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/19/2019 09:00 PM
AB612:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 612


Introduced by Assembly Member Weber

February 14, 2019


An act to amend Section 18919 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalFresh.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 612, as amended, Weber. CalFresh: Restaurant Meals Program.
Existing federal law provides for the federal 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 authorizes eligible counties to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP), which allows eligible recipients to purchase meals at qualified restaurants.

Existing law requires the State Department of Social Services to issue an annual all-county letter providing guidance that lists which counties or regions are eligible to participate in the RMP and the instructions for how a county may choose to participate in RMP or appeal a noneligible determination by the department.

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

Existing law authorizes the State Department of Social Services to enter into a statewide memorandum of understanding with the Chancellor of the California State University to prevent hunger among college students who are homeless, elderly, and disabled, and to facilitate compliance with specified provisions. Existing law also authorizes any qualifying food facility located on a campus of the California State University to participate in the CalFresh RMP through this statewide memorandum of understanding, even if the facility is located in a county that does not participate in the RMP.
This bill would make those provisions applicable to the California Community Colleges system. The bill would require the department to implement its provisions by all-county letter or similar instruction until regulations are adopted and to adopt regulations implementing the bill on or before February 1, 2021.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The California Community Colleges system is the nation’s largest system of higher education and has been an accessible path to a better life for generations of low-income and working-class Californians.
(2) While higher education tuition and fees for California residents are lowest at the California Community Colleges, after factoring in the high cost of housing and other living expenses and the amount of student aid available to a student attending a California community college, in many regions of the state the total cost of attending college is highest for community college students.
(3) A 2018 report from the Assembly Office of Research found that 22 percent of California community college students cannot afford food.
(4) Food-insecure students are more likely than others to drop out of school due to financial concerns.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to help reduce food insecurity for students by removing legal barriers and logistical obstacles to California community colleges participating in the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program and increasing student access to food aid.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 18919 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18919.
 (a) 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 shall issue an annual all-county letter providing guidance that lists which counties or regions are eligible to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) because they meet the requirements established in Section 4014 of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79). The department’s all-county letter shall include instructions for how a county may choose to participate in the RMP or appeal a noneligible determination by the department.
(b) The department shall design the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system established pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 10065) of Part 1 to, automatically and upon issuance of an EBT card, allow all CalFresh recipients who are eligible for the RMP to utilize their benefits in all restaurants that have been approved to participate in the RMP.
(c) Except for direct farm purchasing programs or if otherwise not required at a certified farmer’s market, a restaurant shall not operate as a vendor in the program unless the restaurant permits customers to make in-store purchases, maintains a current public health license, and complies with all federal, state, and local health and safety laws, regulations, and ordinances. For the purpose of this section, “in-store purchase” means any purchase that is not delivered to the purchaser.
(d) To the extent permitted by federal law, a county that elects to participate in the RMP shall not be precluded from determining the number, type, and location of restaurants the county chooses to include as vendors to align with county administrative capacity or other factors, including, but not limited to, location of participating restaurants and recipient demand.
(e) To prevent hunger among college students who are homeless, elderly, or disabled, and to facilitate compliance with Section 66025.93 of the Education Code, the department may enter into a statewide memorandum of understanding with the Chancellor of the California State University. University, the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, or both. Any qualifying food facility located on a campus of the California State University or a campus of the California Community Colleges may participate in the CalFresh RMP through this statewide memorandum of understanding, even if the facility is located in a county that does not participate in the RMP.
(f) For purposes of this section, unless it is specifically excluded from participation in the RMP by federal law or guidance, a restaurant includes, but is not necessarily limited to, an on-campus qualifying food facility, as defined in Section 66025.93 of the Education Code, an eat-in establishment, a grocery store delicatessen, and a takeaway-only restaurant.

SEC. 3.

 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 State Department of Social Services shall implement this act by all-county letters or similar instructions, until regulations are adopted. The State Department of Social Services shall adopt regulations implementing this section on or before February 1, 2021.