BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 2448|
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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 2448
          Author:   Burke (D) 
          Amended:  8/8/16 in Senate
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE:  5-0, 5/10/16
           AYES:  McGuire, Berryhill, Hancock, Liu, Nguyen

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  76-0, 4/25/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   CalWORKs:  welfare-to-work:  education


          SOURCE:    California Welfare Directors Association of  
          California
          
          DIGEST:   This bill authorizes a CalWORKs recipient who has not  
          received a high school diploma or its equivalent to participate  
          in a high school equivalency program, as specified, in lieu of  
          participating in a job search or job club, and it prohibits the  
          county from requiring the recipient to participate in an  
          assessment before the recipient may engage in a high school  
          equivalency program in satisfaction of welfare-to-work  
          requirements.
          
          Senate Floor Amendments of 8/8/16 establish a maximum 12-month  
          time limit on the proposed exemption from the current 24-month  
          time clock during which CalWORKs recipients are seeking high  
          school equivalency.
          
          ANALYSIS:  Existing federal law establishes the federal  
          Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which  
          permits states to implement the program under a state plan. (42  
          USC § 601 et seq.)









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          Existing state law:

          1)Establishes the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility  
            to Kids (CalWORKs) program to provide cash assistance and  
            social services for low-income families. Under CalWORKs, each  
            county provides assistance through a combination of state,  
            county and federal TANF funds. (WIC 10530, WIC 11200)





          2)Establishes income, asset and real property limits to  
            determine eligibility for CalWORKs program participants,  
            including net income below the Maximum Aid Payment (MAP),  
            based on family size and county of residence.  (WIC 11150 to  
            11160, 11450 et seq.)





          3)Establishes a 48-month lifetime limit of CalWORKs benefits for  
            eligible adults, which includes a requirement that a recipient  
            must meet federal work requirements for 24 months in order to  
            retain eligibility.  (WIC 11454, 11322.85)





          4)Requires a recipient of CalWORKs benefits to participate in  
            welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility for  
            aid. (WIC 11320 et seq.)





          5)Mandates the sequence of employment-related activities a  
            CalWORKs participant must engage in subsequent to the receipt  
            of aid, unless otherwise exempted under Section 11320.3.  (WIC  








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            11320.1)





          6)Requires, generally, all recipients over 16 years of age,  
            unless they are otherwise exempt, to participate in specified  
            welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility for  
            CalWORKs.  (WIC 11320.3)





          7)Establishes qualifying welfare-to-work activities to include  
            employment, on-the-job training, community service, adult  
            basic education, and other specified activities. (WIC 11322.6)





          8)Establishes the number of weekly hours of welfare-to-work  
            participation necessary to remain eligible for aid, including  
            requirements for an unemployed parent in a two-parent  
            assistance unit, as specified.  (WIC 11322.8)


          This bill:
          
          1)Adds participation in a high school equivalency program to the  
            list of permissible welfare-to-work activities a CalWORKs  
            participant is required to engage in after orientation and  
            appraisal, as specified.


          2)Requires that any month, for up to 12 months, during which a  
            recipient participates in a high school equivalency program,  
            as specified, shall not be counted against the 24-month clock.  
            Specifically, in order to receive the time clock exemption,  
            the recipient must have been participating in a high school  








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            equivalency program for at least six months, but not yet  
            obtained a certificate of high school equivalency.  
            Additionally provides that the exemption may apply to a  
            recipient for no more than six cumulative months, which may be  
            extended for no more than an additional six cumulative months  
            based on a likelihood that the recipient will obtain his or  
            her certificate of high school equivalency during that time  
            period for a total of 12 possible months.


          3)Removes the requirement that assignments to certain  
            educational activities are limited to situations in which the  
            education is needed to become employed. 


          4)Removes the following from the list of one or more  
            welfare-to-work activities a CalWORKs recipient must  
            participate in after the 24-month clock is exhausted;


             a)   Education that is directly related to employment, for  
               recipients who have not received a high school diploma or  
               certificate of equivalency, and 


             b)   Satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or a  
               course of study leading to a certificate of general  
               equivalence, for recipients who have not completed  
               secondary school or received such a certificate.


          1)Permits a CalWORKs recipient to participate in a high school  
            equivalency program if it is determined during the appraisal  
            that the recipient not yet received his or her high school  
            diploma or its equivalent, as specified. 


          2)Exempts a CalWORKs recipient who is determined to not have yet  
            received his or her high school diploma or its equivalent from  
            having to participate in an assessment prior to, or as a  
            condition of, participation in a high school equivalency  
            program. 








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          Background
          
          According to the author, AB 2448 intends to alleviate the  
          pressure facing CalWORKs participants who are under the 24-month  
          clock, and specifically for those working towards high school  
          equivalency.  Under current law, recipients would have to obtain  
          high school equivalency while under the 24-month clock and find  
          employment or risk penalties.  To mitigate this time restraint,  
          this bill will guarantee a pre-assessment period where the  
          24-month clock is not activated as long as the participant is  
          making sufficient progress toward high school equivalency, per  
          the author.  

          CalWORKs

          According to the U.S. Census Bureau, California's poverty rate  
          during 2011-13 was 23.4 percent. This rate was measured by using  
          the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account  
          housing costs and other factors. The Census Bureau also reports  
          that more than 2 million of California children were living in  
          poverty in 2014. 

          California's most essential anti-poverty strategy is the  
          CalWORKs program, which provides cash assistance to  
          approximately 540,000 families - including more than 1 million  
          children, according to 2014 federal data. 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. In addition to temporary cash  
          assistance to meet basic family needs, CalWORKs provides  
          education, employment and training programs. CDSS is the  
          designated state agency responsible for program supervision at  
          the state level.  The counties are responsible for administering  
          the caseloads at the local level.  The CalWORKs program is  
          funded with a mix of federal, state, and county funds. 

          In order to be eligible for CalWORKs, families must meet income  
          and asset tests. In addition, children must be deprived of  
          parental support and care due to the incapacity, death or  








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          absence of apparent or unemployment of the principal  
          wage-earner.  Persons fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody or  
          confinement after conviction of a felony are not eligible for  
          CalWORKs. Per the 2016-2017 Governor's budget, the average  
          monthly grant for a CalWORKs household is $497.35 and the  
          maximum aid payment for a family of three is $704, or 42 percent  
          of Federal Poverty Level.

          Welfare-to-Work Requirements 

          State law provides for a cumulative 48-month lifetime limit on  
          cash aid for adults.  During those 48 months, adults may receive  
          a total of 24 months of Welfare-to-Work (WTW) services and  
          activities.  WTW activities include subsidized and unsubsidized  
          employment, community service, adult basic education, community  
          college, job skills, training, mental health counseling,  
          substance abuse treatment and other activities necessary to  
          assist recipients in obtaining employment. 

          Unless they are exempt, an adult in a one parent assistance unit  
          is required to participate in WTW activities for an average of  
          30 hours per week during the month or an average of 20 hours per  
          week for a parent with a child under age six.  In a two-parent  
          assistance unit, one or both adults must participate in WTW  
          activities for a combined average of 35 hours per week. 

          Once the 24 months of WTW activities have been exhausted, adults  
          must meet the stricter federal work participation requirements  
          (20, 30, or 35 hours weekly, depending on family composition)  
          unless they are exempt or receive an extension. If a CalWORKs  
          recipient who is not exempt from participation does not meet the  
          welfare-to-work requirements, the recipient may be sanctioned,  
          and that recipient's portion of the family's grant may be  
          subtracted from the amount provided to the family.

          Educational attainment

          According to a report issued by US Department of Labor's Bureau  
          of Labor Statistics, in 2014, 18.3 percent of the working poor  
          had not obtained a high school diploma and 8.3 percent of  
          working individuals who were poor had obtained a high school  
          diploma, but no college education. In a separate report by the  








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          Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly income for a  
          worker with less than a high school diploma in 2015 was $493.   
          The same report shows high school graduates earned $678 per  
          week. Additionally, unemployment rates for a worker with less  
          than a high school diploma were about 8 percent, which was  
          almost double that of the national average  
          (http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm).

          According to the sponsor, recent data shows 46 percent of  
          CalWORKs Welfare to Work participants without high school  
          certification achieved high school equivalency in six months or  
          less, and 19 percent took up to 12 months. 

          Comments
          
          The bill proposes to "freeze" the 24-month clock for CalWORKs  
          recipients who are seeking high school equivalency.  Recent  
          amendments establish a 12-month time limit during which the  
          clock would freeze.  If a recipient has received his or her high  
          school equivalency within six months, the time clock will not be  
          frozen. However, if a recipient has not yet obtained his or her  
          high school equivalency, the time clock may be frozen for the  
          first six months and up to an additional six months (for a total  
          of 12 months).  The six month extension would be based on  
          likelihood that the recipient will obtain high school  
          equivalency during that time period.  

          Related/Prior Legislation

          AB 1994 (Lopez, 2016) creates the CalED program to provide a  
          onetime $500 supplement to eligible CalWORKs participants upon  
          successful completion of a high school equivalency examination. 

          AB 2058 (Mayes, 2016) creates the CalWORKs Educational  
          Opportunity and Attainment Program and awards grant increases to  
          CalWORKs recipients upon completion of educational milestones,  
          as specified.   
          
          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:NoLocal:    No










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          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/9/16)


          County Welfare Directors Association of California (source) 
          Alameda County Board of Supervisors
          California Catholic Conference, Inc.
          California Family Resource Association
          California State Association of Counties
          The County of San Bernardino 
          The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors



          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/9/16)


          None received


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:     According to the bill's source, the  
          County Welfare Directors Association of California: 


               Current law limits adult eligibility for CalWORKs benefits  
               to 24 months, unless the participant is meeting the federal  
               work participation requirements or meets other criteria to  
               have his or her time clock extended.  The 24-month  
               restriction makes it particularly difficult for  
               participants working towards a high school diploma or its  
               equivalent because their 24-month clock "ticks" while they  
               pursue their education.  


               AB 2448 would remove this barrier by allowing CalWORKs  
               participants to obtain a high school equivalency degree  
               prior start of the 24-month time clock. CalWORKs students  
               would need to maintain satisfactory progress towards their  
               high school degree in order for the clock to remain stopped  
               during this time frame. 

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  76-0, 4/25/16
           AYES: Achadjian, Alejo, Arambula, Atkins, Baker, Bigelow,  








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            Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos,  
            Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle,  
            Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder,  
            Lopez, Low, Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina,  
            Melendez, Mullin, Nazarian, Obernolte, O'Donnell, Patterson,  
            Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth,  
            Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk,  
            Wood, Rendon
           NO VOTE RECORDED: Travis Allen, Chang, Olsen, Williams



          Prepared by:  Taryn Smith / HUMAN S. / (916) 651-1524
          8/10/16 15:57:25


                                    **** END ****


          8/10/16 15:57:25