BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       AB 743


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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AB  
          743 (Eggman)


          As Amended  June 1, 2015


          Majority vote


           ------------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Committee       |Votes |Ayes                |Noes                  |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |----------------+------+--------------------+----------------------|
          |Human Services  |5-2   |Chu, Calderon,      |Mayes, Maienschein    |
          |                |      |Lopez,              |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |Mark Stone,         |                      |
          |                |      |Thurmond            |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |----------------+------+--------------------+----------------------|
          |Appropriations  |12-5  |Gomez, Bonta,       |Bigelow, Chang,       |
          |                |      |Calderon, Daly,     |Gallagher, Jones,     |
          |                |      |Eggman,             |Wagner                |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |Eduardo Garcia,     |                      |
          |                |      |Gordon, Holden,     |                      |
          |                |      |Quirk, Rendon,      |                      |
          |                |      |Weber, Wood         |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------- 









                                                                       AB 743


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          SUMMARY:  Establishes the California Work Opportunity and  
          Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Self-Sufficiency through  
          Education and GI Bill Exemption Act of 2015.  Specifically, this  
          bill: 


          1)Ensures education, training, vocation or rehabilitation  
            benefits, and related allowances provided through the United  
            States Department of Veterans Affairs, as specified, are not  
            considered as income or property for purposes of determining  
            CalWORKs eligibility or grant levels.
          2)Provides that individuals participating in a self-initiated  
            program leading to employment, as specified, are not required to  
            participate in job search activities.


          3)Requires a county, upon determining that a welfare-to-work plan  
            assessment is necessary for a person participating in an  
            approved self-initiated program, as specified, to schedule the  
            assessment at a time that does not interfere in any way with the  
            person's self-initiated program, employment, or child care  
            obligations, and requires supportive services to continue for  
            that person until the assessment has been completed.


          4)Provides that satisfactory progress in an assigned education or  
            training activity shall be defined by the institution  
            administering the education or training activity.


          5)Provides that satisfactory progress in an undergraduate degree  
            or certificate program that leads to employment shall be defined  
            by the educational institution.


          6)Exempts a person enrolled in postsecondary school, as specified,  
            from CalWORKs job club and job search requirements, as defined.









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          7)Provides that either a county welfare department or a local  
            education agency or provider can identify a self-initiated  
            program as leading to employment.  Deletes the requirement that  
            a county annually agree to a list of such activities, and  
            instead requires a county to approve the list, annually.


          8)Establishes a statewide standard for allowable activities  
            identified as leading to employment by aligning the list of  
            allowable activities used at the county level with the list used  
            by the Employment Development Department.


          9)Allows study time, as defined by the educational institution a  
            person is attending, to be counted toward the minimum number of  
            hours of welfare-to-work participation that are required, as  
            specified.


          10)Deletes language that only authorizes supportive services  
            reimbursement for participation in a self-initiated training or  
            education program when no other source of funding for those  
            costs is available.


          11)Requires a schedule approved by a college counselor to be  
            deemed sufficient verification for the purpose of determining  
            eligibility for, and need of, child care.


          12)Excludes any hours of participation in a self-initiated  
            education or training program from the work activity limitations  
            of the CalWORKs 24-month time clock.


          13)Removes self-initiated programs from consideration among  
            assigned program activities when determining whether a person  
            has failed or refused to comply with program requirements.








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          14)Prohibits subjecting an individual who is currently  
            participating in a self-initiated program that is reflected in  
            his or her welfare-to-work plan from being subject to sanctions  
            on the basis of failure or refusal to sign a new welfare-to-work  
            plan if the individual is making satisfactory progress in that  
            program, as defined by the institution administering the  
            program. 


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Establishes several education programs available to military  
            veterans, including post-9/11 educational assistance, as  
            specified. (38 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 3313)


          2)Establishes under federal law the Temporary Assistance for Needy  
            Families (TANF) program to provide aid and welfare-to-work  
            services to eligible families and, in California, provides that  
            TANF funds for welfare-to-work services are administered through  
            the CalWORKs program.  (42 U.S.C. Section 601 et seq., Welfare  
            and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 11200 et seq.) 


          3)Establishes income, asset and real property limits used to  
            determine eligibility for the program, including net income  
            below the Maximum Aid Payment (MAP), based on family size and  
            county of residence, which is approximately 40% of the Federal  
            Poverty Level.  (WIC Sections11450 and 11150 et seq.)


          4)Prohibits a CalWORKs applicant or recipient's educational  
            expenses from being applied to any educational loans or grants  
            he or she receives that are exempt from consideration as income  
            for purposes of determining CalWORKs eligibility. (WIC Section  
            11250.8) 








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          5)Establishes a 48-month lifetime limit of CalWORKs benefits for  
            eligible adults, including a CalWORKs welfare-to-work 24-month  
            time clock, upon exhaustion of which a recipient must meet  
            federal work requirements in order to retain eligibility.  (WIC  
            Sections 11454 and 11322.85) 


          6)Requires necessary supportive services, including child care,  
            transportation, ancillary costs and personal counseling, as  
            specified, to be available to every CalWORKs participant in  
            order to facilitate his or her participation in the CalWORKs  
            program activity to which he or she is assigned or acceptance of  
            employment.  (WIC Section 11323.2) 


          7)Makes paid child care available as a supportive service to every  
            CalWORKs participant with a dependent child in the assistance  
            unit who needs paid child care and is under 10 years of age or  
            requires child care due to a physical, mental, or developmental  
            disability, or is under court supervision.  (WIC Section 11323.2  
            (a)(1)(A))


          8)Requires any individual required to participate in  
            welfare-to-work activities to enter into a written  
            welfare-to-work plan with the county welfare department after an  
            assessment is conducted, as specified. (WIC Section 11325.21)


          9)Requires all welfare-to-work participants, except those  
            participating in the Cal-Learn Program or engaged in obtaining a  
            high school diploma or its equivalent, to be assigned to  
            participate in job search activities for a period of up to four  
            consecutive weeks following the initial CalWORKs appraisal. (WIC  
            Section 11325.22)










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          10)Establishes the following provisions pertaining to  
            participation in self-initiated education and training programs:


             a)   Permits a student enrolled in any undergraduate degree or  
               certificate program that leads to employment to continue in  
               that program upon commencing CalWORKs aid, provided he or she  
               is making satisfactory progress in the program, the county  
               determines that continuing in the program is likely to lead  
               to self-supporting employment for that recipient, and the  
               welfare-to-work plan reflects that determination;
             b)   Provides that a program shall only be determined to lead  
               to employment if it is on a list of programs that the county  
               welfare department and local education agencies or providers  
               agree lead to employment, and requires the list to be agreed  
               to annually.  Further requires the county to determine  
               whether a program leads to employment if it is not included  
               in the agreed upon list;


             c)   Requires concurrent participation in additional work  
               activities if participation in educational or vocational  
               training, as determined by the number of hours required for  
               classroom, laboratory, or internship activities, does not  
               fulfil the weekly 30 or 20 hour work requirement, as  
               specified;


             d)   Requires participation in a self-initiated education or  
               vocational training program to be reflected in a recipient's  
               welfare-to-work plan;


             e)   Authorizes a person whose previously approved  
               self-initiated education or training program is interrupted  
               for reasons that meet good cause criteria, as specified, to  
               resume participation in the same program if the participant  
               maintained good standing in the program and the program  
               continues to meet the county approval criteria; and








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             f)   Requires supportive services reimbursement to be provided  
               for any participant in a self-initiated educational or  
               training program provided that no other source of funding for  
               those services is available.  (WIC Section11325.23)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee:


          1)On-going costs in the range of $ 60,786 to $300,900 (Federal  
            funds/General Fund) for CalWORKs caseload increases and  
            increased grant amounts for those already receiving aid, due to  
            the expanded exemption of veterans' benefits from consideration  
            as income for CalWORKs eligibility purposes.  The average grant  
            amount for a family of three is $6,078 per year.  A portion of  
            new recipients will likely qualify for additional services as  
            well, such as child care, which will increase these costs  
            further.


          2)Minor administrative costs to the Department of Social Services  
            (DSS) resulting from other provisions in the bill.


          COMMENTS: 


          CalWORKs:  The CalWORKs program provides monthly income assistance  
          and employment-related services aimed at moving children out of  
          poverty and helping families meet basic needs.  Federal funding  
          for CalWORKs comes from the TANF block grant.  The average 2015-16  
          monthly cash grant for a family of three on CalWORKs (one parent  
          and two children) is $506.55, and the maximum monthly grant amount  
          for a family of three, if the family has no other income and lives  
          in a high-cost county, is $704.  According to recent data from the  
          California Department of Social Services, over 540,000 families  








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          rely on CalWORKs, including over one million children.  Nearly 80%  
          of the children are under age 12 and almost 40% are under age  
          five.


          Welfare-to-Work requirements:  Welfare-to-work activities within  
          the CalWORKs program include public or private sector subsidized  
          or unsubsidized employment; on-the-job training; community  
          service; secondary school, adult basic education, and vocational  
          education and training when the education is needed for the  
          recipient to become employed; specific mental health, substance  
          abuse, or domestic violence services if they are necessary to  
          obtain or retain employment; and a number of other activities  
          necessary to assist a recipient in obtaining unsubsidized  
          employment.  


          Unless they are exempt, single parent adults must participate for  
          at least 30 hours per week in welfare-to-work activities, whereas  
          the minimum participation requirement for two-parent families is  
          35 hours per week.  After receiving aid for up to a maximum of 24  
          months, adults without an exemption must work in unsubsidized  
          employment or participate in community services activities for the  
          minimum number of hours listed above.  If a CalWORKs recipient who  
          is not exempt from participation does not meet his or her  
          welfare-to-work requirements, the recipient is sanctioned for  
          noncompliance, and that recipient's portion of the family's grant  
          is subtracted from the amount provided to the family to meet basic  
          needs.


          Self-initiated programs:  While most parents applying for CalWORKs  
          assistance have gaps in their education or minimal prior job  
          experience, the recent recession resulted in numerous college  
          students and people who had been laid off from their jobs showing  
          up for the first time in county offices to figure out how to make  
          ends meet for their families.  Under current law, a person  
          applying for CalWORKs aid that is already enrolled in an  
          undergraduate or certificate program that will lead to  








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          self-sustaining employment can remain in that program provided he  
          or she is making satisfactory progress in the program.  Such  
          programs are referred to as "self-initiated programs" because they  
          are the result of the applicant or recipient engaging in an  
          education or training program without first needing to go through  
          a CalWORKs assessment in order to gauge his or her employment  
          skills and abilities.  While individuals participating in  
          self-initiated programs should be able to develop their  
          welfare-to-work plans in a way that accommodates their current  
          approved activities, the flow of statutory requirements designed  
          to help CalWORKs recipients obtain and maintain employment  
          includes job search activities for a period of up to four weeks  
          for most participants.  Job search activities can provide  
          beneficial, gradual exposure to new working environments for many  
          welfare-to-work participants, but this requirement often  
          interferes with education and training schedules for  
          self-initiated program participants.  


          GI Bill:  Originally signed in 1944 and envisioned, in part, as a  
          means to aid in the transition back to civilian life, GI Bill  
          benefits have been increasingly relied upon to ensure a pathway to  
          education for active military personnel and veterans.  In 2008,  
          the GI Bill was updated to give veterans with active duty service  
          on or after September 11, 2001, enhanced educational benefits that  
          provide additional funding for educational expenses, money for  
          books, and a living allowance.  Another feature of the post-9/11  
          GI bill is the ability for veterans to transfer any unused  
          educational benefits to their spouses or children, provided they  
          meet certain United States (US) Department of Veterans Affairs  
          requirements.  According to September 2014 estimates from the US  
          Department of Veterans Affairs, California is home to over 1.8  
          million veterans, which accounts for 12% of the national veteran  
          population of 22 million.  A report prepared for the US Department  
          of Defense revealed that in 2012, there were 155,985 active duty  
          military personnel in California.  


          Need for this bill:  This bill seeks to encourage educational  








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          options for low-income parents that will lead to long-term,  
          improved outcomes for themselves and their families.  By removing  
          unnecessary disruptions and barriers to continuing in an education  
          or training program in which a CalWORKs applicant or recipient is  
          making satisfactory progress, this bill will grant more parents  
          access to the education options and support already available to  
          them while avoiding damaging setbacks.  Additionally, this bill  
          ensures that statute is clear relative to not factoring GI Bill  
          benefits, including the housing stipend, into income or property  
          calculations for CalWORKs applicants.  By doing so, this bill  
          allows military service members, their spouses and their children  
          to utilize earned benefits without having to forgo receipt of  
          those benefits if they happen to need additional assistance to  
          stabilize their families.


          According to the author, "This bill seeks to help some of our most  
          hard-working students that are fighting to improve their lives as  
          well as their families. There are over 30,000 parents who are  
          improving their future earning potential and the life  
          opportunities of their children by seeking a certificate or degree  
          while participating in welfare-to-work.  Research shows that  
          securing post-secondary degree will improve the likelihood of  
          exiting poverty and reduce reliance on safety net programs.   
          Supporting the success of low-income parents in their academic and  
          employment and training goals not only improves the economic  
          opportunities, but research has shown that it makes their children  
          more likely to finish high school and to seek college  
          opportunities for themselves.  This two-generation approach to  
          poverty reduction is being recognized nationally as a strategy  
          that works."




          Analysis Prepared by:                                               
                          Myesha Jackson / HUM. S. / (916) 319-2089  FN:  
          0000770









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