Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1022 California Antihunger Response and Employment Training Act of 2019.(2019-2020)



SECTION 1.
 This act shall be known, and may be referred to, as the California Antihunger Response and Employment Training Act of 2019.
SEC. 2.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) One in eight Californians suffers from food insecurity.
(b) The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California, is the most important defense against hunger, helping millions of Californians prevent hunger and its long-term consequences.
(c) SNAP not only helps prevent hunger among low-income households, as it also creates jobs and supports our food economy across the state.
(d) The Secretary of Food and Agriculture and the Secretary of California Health and Human Services sent the California congressional delegation a letter asking that they prioritize policies that reduce hunger, such as eliminating the able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit, in the upcoming reauthorization of SNAP through the 2018 Farm Bill.
(e) Instead, the 2018 Farm Bill, signed by the President of the United States on December 20, 2018, included a provision that will reduce the number of individual waivers available for people who will lose benefits as a result of the ABAWD time limit, and the Trump Administration has proposed regulations to further reduce protections to low-income, out-of-work, and underemployed people subject to the time limit.
(f) Hunger never makes any person better able to prepare for work, secure a job, or succeed at their place of employment. It only makes them, and our economy, weaker and less able to persevere during hard times.
(g) In addition, cutting low-income Californians from CalFresh disconnects them from CalFresh Employment and Training programs, which can help them reduce barriers to unemployment and gain new skills that increase their employability and likelihood of their future economic success.
(h) California will provide funding to serve low-income, out-of-work, underemployed, and job-seeking Californians who are impacted by this ill-conceived federal law.

SEC. 3.

 Chapter 10.5 (commencing with Section 18946) is added to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

CHAPTER  10.5. California Antihunger Response and Employment Training Program
18946.
 (a) The State Department of Social Services shall establish the California Antihunger Response and Employment Training (CARET) program for persons described in subdivision (b).
(b) A person who has been determined ineligible for CalFresh benefits, or for whom CalFresh benefits have been discontinued, as a result of the federal able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit, and who also is ineligible for a percentage exemption, shall receive benefits under the CARET program.
(c) A person described in subdivision (b) shall receive CARET benefits in the same amount as the CalFresh benefits they would have received if the ABAWD time limit did not make them ineligible.
(d) A CARET program recipient shall also be eligible for the same CalFresh Employment and Training (CalFresh E&T) program benefits described in Section 18926.5 that the recipient would have been eligible for if the ABAWD time limit did not make the recipient ineligible for CalFresh benefits.
(e) A CalFresh E&T provider serving a CARET recipient shall be eligible to draw down a state-funded reimbursement in the same amount that the provider would have been eligible to receive for allowable CalFresh E&T services for a CalFresh recipient.
(f) (1) Benefits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be issued through a state-administered and state-funded electronic benefits transfer system that is subject to the standards established in Section 10072.
(2) The electronic benefits transfer system used to issue CARET benefits may also be used to issue other state-funded food assistance benefits.
(g) This chapter applies only if federal law and guidance prohibit the state from retaining an exemption allocated pursuant to Section 273.24(g) of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations for use in a later month.
SEC. 4.
 (a) The State Department of Social Services shall issue guidance to maximize the use of percentage exemptions available under federal law and guidance relating to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
(b) The department shall develop the guidance in consultation with the Office of Systems Integration, county human services agencies, public benefit recipient advocates, representatives of public benefit caseworkers, and other relevant stakeholders.
(c) The guidance may include redistribution of percentage exemptions between counties if necessary to maximize the use of the percentage exemptions to prevent hunger among persons subject to the federal able-bodied adult without dependents time limit.
(d) The guidance shall be issued no later than April 1, 2020, and shall remain operative until the CARET program described in Section 18946 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is operative.
SEC. 5.
 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.