Today's Law As Amended


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SB-546 Communications: lifeline universal service.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 881 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

881.
 (a) Except as specified in paragraph (3) of subdivision (d), the commission, as part of a new or existing proceeding, shall continue the foster youth program, initiated as the iFoster pilot program by commission Decision 19-04-021 (April 25, 2019) Decision Authorizing Pilot Programs of Boost Mobile, Inc. and iFoster, Inc. in the California Lifeline Program, as an element of the lifeline program to provide eligible foster youth with a smartphone and monthly prepaid mobile telephony service, including unlimited voice, text, and data service.
(b) (1) Current and former foster youth, 13 to 26 years of age, inclusive, residing in California shall be eligible for the foster youth program. A former foster youth, 21 to 26 years of age, inclusive, is eligible for the foster youth program if that applicant was in foster care on or after their 13th birthday.
(2) The commission may adjust the lifeline support amounts, including for inflation, for increased data or hotspots needed for distance learning and for other academic or employment needs, and may expand eligibility for the foster youth program to foster youth younger than 13 years of age if it determines such expansion is merited and within program funding levels.
(c) (1) The commission may select one or more third-party administrators to administer the foster youth program, partner with local government agencies, including county child welfare directors, educate consumers about the program, assist consumers in completing the program application, determine a consumer’s eligibility for the program, serve as a distribution channel for smartphone devices and services, provide technical support for consumers in the program, and assist in the evaluation and improvement of the program.
(2) The commission may establish an appeals process for applicants who are denied eligibility for the foster youth program.
(3) The commission may determine the mobile telephony service providers that will provide service for the foster youth program.
(d) (1) The commission may waive any rule generally applicable to the lifeline program, including commission General Order 153, for the foster youth program.
(2) The commission may adopt special rules and requirements applicable to the foster youth program that are not generally applicable to the lifeline program, including reporting requirements and rules to protect privacy and youth welfare.
(3) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the commission may establish a sunset date for the foster youth program upon all of the following conditions being satisfied:
(A) Commission Rulemaking 20-02-008 (February 27, 2020) Rulemaking to Update the California Lifeline Program has been closed.
(B) The commission has ensured that each eligible foster youth enrolled in the foster youth program will have access to equivalent benefits upon the conclusion of the foster youth program.
(C) The commission has expanded eligibility criteria for the lifeline telephone service program to include those foster youths otherwise eligible for the foster youth program.
SEC. 2.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SEC. 3.
 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
The existing iFoster pilot program, which provides needed communications tools to at-risk youth, is set to expire before the end of 2021 and in order to prevent an interruption to the program, it is necessary for this act to take effect immediately.