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

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Date Published: 04/25/2019 09:00 PM
AB1022:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 25, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 22, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1022


Introduced by Assembly Member Wicks
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gipson)
(Coauthor: Senator Wiener)

February 21, 2019


An act to add Chapter 10.5 (commencing with Section 18946) to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalFresh.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1022, as amended, Wicks. California Anti-Hunger Antihunger Response and Employment Training Act of 2019.
Existing federal law establishes 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 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 work participation requirements or is otherwise exempt. Existing federal law authorizes a waiver of that time limit upon the request of a state if it is determined that the area in which the individuals reside has an unemployment rate of over 10% or does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals. Existing state law requires the State Department of Social Services, to the extent permitted by federal law, to annually seek a federal waiver of the time limit.
Existing law authorizes counties to participate in the CalFresh Employment and Training (CalFresh E&T) program, 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 components that the county offers, including work experience or training and job search.
This bill would require the department to establish the California Anti-Hunger Antihunger Response and Employment Training (CARET) program to provide benefits to a person for any month in which the person who has been determined ineligible for CalFresh benefits, or for whom CalFresh benefits have been discontinued, discontinued as a result of the ABAWD time limit, limit and who is ineligible for an individual waiver, as specified. The bill would require that the household person receive the same amount of benefits under the CARET program that it they would have received under the CalFresh program if the ABAWD time limit did not make a person in the household them ineligible. The bill would also make a CARET program recipient eligible for CalFresh E&T program benefits, and would make a CalFresh E&T provider serving a CARET recipient eligible to draw down a state-funded reimbursement in the same reimbursement for the cost of allowable E&T services that the provider would be amount that the provider would have been eligible to receive for allowable CalFresh E&T services for a CalFresh recipient.
The recipient. The bill would require the issuance of CARET benefits through a state-administered and state-funded electronic benefits transfer system, as specified.
The bill would require the department to develop, in consultation with specified entities, and to issue, guidance to maximize the use of individual waivers available under federal law and guidance relating to SNAP. The bill would authorize the guidance to include redistribution of individual waivers between counties, as specified. The bill would require the guidance to be issued no later than January 30, April 1, 2020, and to remain operative until the CARET program is operative.
To the extent that the bill would expand eligibility for county-administered benefits through the establishment of the CARET program, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be referred to, as the California Anti-Hunger 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 Anti-Hunger Antihunger Response and Employment Training Program

18946.
 (a) The State Department of Social Services shall establish the California Anti-Hunger Antihunger Response and Employment Training (CARET) program for persons described in subdivision (b).
(b) A person shall receive benefits under the CARET program for any month in which the person who has been determined ineligible for CalFresh benefits, or for whom CalFresh benefits have been discontinued, discontinued as a result of the federal able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit if the person limit, and who is ineligible for an individual waiver. waiver, shall receive benefits under the CARET program.
(c) The household person shall receive CARET benefits in the same amount as the CalFresh benefits it they would have received if the ABAWD time limit did not make a person in the household 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 reimbursement for the cost of allowable E&T services that the provider would be 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 individual waivers 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 individual waivers between counties if necessary to maximize the use of the waivers 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 January 30, 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.