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AB-221 Emergency food assistance.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/30/2021 09:00 PM
AB221:v98#DOCUMENT

Revised  April 08, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 30, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 221


Introduced by Assembly Members Santiago, Chiu, and Robert Rivas Robert Rivas, and Gipson
(Principal coauthor: Senator Rubio)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Burke, Carrillo, Chau, Cristina Garcia, Gipson, Grayson, Kamlager, Luz Rivas, Blanca Rubio, Stone, and Villapudua)
(Coauthors: Senators Dodd, Durazo, Kamlager, and Wiener)

January 11, 2021


An act to add Chapter 15.5 (commencing with Section 18996.5) to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to food assistance programs, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 221, as amended, Santiago. Emergency food assistance.
Existing law establishes and requires the State Department of Social Services to administer the CalFood Program to provide food and funding to food banks whose primary function is to facilitate the distribution of food to low-income households, as specified.

This bill would require the department to provide a food assistance benefit statewide to low-income California residents, regardless of their immigration status, upon

Upon the appropriation of funds by the Legislature for this purpose purpose, or a determination by the Governor that specified funds available to the Governor may be used for this purpose. purpose, this bill would require the department to provide a food assistance benefit statewide to low-income California residents and to contract with specified entities, including a Feeding America partner state organization, to issue this benefit in the form of a one-time use, prepaid card preloaded with $600 for use at retailers that sell groceries. The bill would provide that a person is eligible for this benefit if they are an adult who self-attests to eligibility for at least one of 3 prescribed benefits, including the Federal Emergency Food Assistance Program, and that this benefit is a disaster benefit rather than a public social service. The bill would require authorize the contractor to subcontract with local nonprofit organizations to issue the food assistance benefit, and would require any subcontracting nonprofit to comply with specified requirements, including maintaining records. The bill would establish various administrative requirements related to the benefit.
The bill would require the department to commission department, in consultation with a workgroup, to conduct a study to provide recommendations and solutions to a permanent food assistance program for low-income California residents experiencing food insecurity, to complete that study by January 1, 2023, and to submit a copy of that study to the Legislature.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 15.5 (commencing with Section 18996.5) is added to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
CHAPTER  15.5. Emergency Food Assistance For All

18996.5.
 (a) (1) Upon the appropriation of funds by the Legislature for this purpose, or upon a determination by the Governor that funds available to the Governor may be used for this purpose, the State Department of Social Services shall provide do both of the following:
(A) Provide a food assistance benefit statewide to low-income California residents, regardless of their immigration status.
(B) (i) Contract with one of the following entities to issue the food assistance benefit:
(I) A Feeding America partner state organization with the capacity to provide the food assistance benefit.
(II) Any other nonprofit entity that the department deems appropriate.
(ii) The contractor described in clause (i) may subcontract with local nonprofit organizations to issue the food assistance benefit, including all of the following:
(I) Existing federal Emergency Food Assistance Program providers under contract with the department.
(II) Members of the California Association of Food Banks.
(III) Nonprofit organizations that contracted with the department for the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants project.
(iii) (I) The contract specified in clause (i) shall include all of the contractor’s costs to administer the program and the administrative expenses for subcontracting nonprofits, as specified in clause (ii), and shall require the department to advance all administrative expenses to the contractor.
(II) Administrative expenses for participating subcontracting nonprofits shall not exceed 15 percent of the contract amount. Administrative costs shall include, but are not limited to, community outreach, ensuring language access for applicants and recipients of the food assistance benefit issued pursuant to this chapter, and the training of staff of the subcontracting nonprofits.
(2) The department shall procure the prepaid cards that shall be provided pursuant to subdivision (c), and shall ensure the availability of, and the customer service support for, these prepaid cards to the subcontracting nonprofits, as specified in clause (ii) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1), or to the contractor, as necessary.
(3) (A) The department shall provide any material, including outreach, application, and informational material, to the contractor or subcontracting nonprofits. The contractor or subcontracting nonprofits shall disseminate that material to eligible recipients, as necessary, for those individuals to avail themselves to the food assistance benefit.
(B) The material specified in subparagraph (A) shall meet departmental standards relating to threshold language and literacy levels.
(4) The department shall have the emergency authority to expedite all contracts necessary to distribute the emergency food benefit issued under this chapter.
(b) A person shall be eligible for the food assistance benefit issued pursuant to this chapter if that person is an adult who self-attests to eligibility for at least one of these three benefits:
(1) Federal Emergency Food Assistance Program (7 C.F.R. Parts 250 and 251).
(2) The Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project. project.
(3) Immigrant legal services, as provided for under Section 13303.
(c) (1) The food assistance benefit provided pursuant to this chapter shall be issued in the form of a prepaid card that shall be limited to use at retailers that sell groceries.
(2) The issued prepaid card shall be available for one-time use, and shall be preloaded with six hundred dollars ($600). The subcontracting nonprofits shall issue the food assistance benefit on two different distribution periods at least one month apart.
(d) The food assistance benefit, and local administrative expenses, issued pursuant to this chapter shall be allocated by the department through the formula used in the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program. In consultation with the department, the contractor shall adjust county allocations and local administrative expenses based on the subcontracting nonprofits, as described in clause (ii) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), which elect to participate.
(e) (1) A subcontracting nonprofit that issues the food assistance benefit shall maintain all of the following records:
(A) The total number of prepaid cards received from the department, and the date those cards are received.
(B) The total number of prepaid cards issued during each distribution period.
(C) The dates of each distribution period.
(2) A subcontracting nonprofit that maintains the records described under subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive, of paragraph (1) shall ensure that those records are made available to the department and the contractor upon request.

(c)

(f) The food assistance benefit issued pursuant to this chapter is a disaster benefit, and is not a public social service administered by the department. Section 10950 shall not apply to this chapter.

18996.6.
 (a) The department shall commission department, in consultation with a workgroup, shall conduct a study to provide recommendations and solutions to a permanent food assistance program for all low-income California residents experiencing food insecurity, regardless of their immigration status. The study shall include, but is not limited to, both of the following:
(1) Identifying communities who have low rates of participation in California food assistance programs.
(2) Identifying communities who have been excluded from relief efforts when a federal, local, or state emergency has been declared due to natural disasters, wildfires, a public health crisis, or other causes of a state of emergency that have impacted the health and safety of Californians.
(b) The department shall complete the study by January 1, 2023, and shall submit a copy of that study to the Legislature.

SEC. 2.

 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:
In order to facilitate the immediate delivery of food assistance during the COVID-19 public health emergency, it is necessary that this act go into effect immediately.
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REVISIONS:
Heading—Lines 1 and 4.
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