Dr. Joaquin Arambula
- District 31
Existing federal law provides for allocation of federal funds through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program to eligible states. Existing law establishes the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, under which, through a combination of state and county funds and federal funds received through the TANF program, each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families. Existing law imposes various eligibility requirements for the CalWORKs program, including that a child is deprived of parental support or care, a child has received all age-appropriate immunizations, and specified applicants or recipients who are apparently eligible for unemployment insurance shall meet the conditions of eligibility for and accept any unemployment insurance benefits for which they are eligible. This bill would, among other things, repeal the parental deprivation and immunization requirements, and would instead only require that those specified applicants and recipients whom the county has evidence that they are eligible for unemployment insurance to apply for, but not meet the conditions of, unemployment insurance benefits. By expanding eligibility for the CalWORKs program, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. Existing law generally requires a recipient of CalWORKs benefits to participate in welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility for aid, except if they are exempt or excused from participation for good cause. Existing law requires a participant to enter into a written welfare-to-work plan with the county, and specifies the work activities that may be included in a participant's plan, including mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence services that are necessary to obtain and retain employment. Existing law also requires participants to participate in job search activities for a period of up to 4 consecutive weeks, as specified. This bill would, among other things, revise and recast the welfare-to-work program, by renaming it as the family assistance program, repealing the provision that makes participation in work activities a condition of eligibility for CalWORKs aid, and instead requiring that every recipient be provided with an opportunity to participate in family assistance activities. The bill would expand the list of work activities by including home visiting services and financial literacy classes and coaching that are necessary to obtain and retain employment or improve family or financial well-being, activities that develop and enhance workplace skills, and activities that build foundations for employment, as specified. The bill would repeal the job search requirements. The bill would require a county to provide the participant with a plan form within 60 days after the date that a participant's eligibility for aid is determined or the date the participant chooses to participate in work activities wherein the recipient may select the activities and the number of hours they want to participate in, including any and all available support services. By increasing the duties of counties administering the CalWORKs program, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. Under existing law, when an individual fails or refuses to comply with specified components of the CalWORKs program without good cause, and conciliation efforts have failed, the individual is subject to a financial sanction that requires the family's grant to be reduced by removing the noncomplying family member from the assistance unit. Existing law prohibits sanctions from being applied for a failure or refusal to comply with program requirements if, among other reasons, the employment, offer of employment, activity, or other training, or for employment discriminates on specified bases or involves conditions that are in violation of applicable health and safety standards, among other things. This bill would instead subject an individual to financial sanctions when they have refused to participate without good cause, and would define "refused" to mean the recipient is physically, mentally, or emotionally able to participate in work activities, but clearly demonstrates that they will not participate. The bill would require the county to reach out to the recipient to inform them of possible sanctions and to provide a notice of action if they continue to refuse to participate, as specified. The bill would change the sanction imposed to a reduction in the family's grant by reducing the noncomplying family member's portion of the grant by 1% until the sanctioned individual indicates that they are willing to participate in any work activity. The bill would instead prohibit sanctions from being applied for a refusal to participate in work activities when the recipient states that there are physical, mental, emotional, other family circumstances, or labor law bases that cause them to not participate, and would require the county to instead offer referrals to barrier-removing services. By increasing the duties of counties administering the CalWORKs program, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program. This bill would provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill. 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.
In Senate. Read first time. To Com. on RLS. for assignment.
Read third time. Passed. Ordered to the Senate. (Ayes 62. Noes 17.)
Read second time. Ordered to third reading.
From committee: Do pass. (Ayes 11. Noes 4.) (May 18).
Joint Rule 62(a), file notice suspended.
In committee: Set, first hearing. Referred to suspense file.
In committee: Hearing postponed by committee.
From committee: Do pass and re-refer to Com. on APPR. (Ayes 5. Noes 2.) (April 18). Re-referred to Com. on APPR.
From committee chair, with author's amendments: Amend, and re-refer to Com. on HUM. S. Read second time and amended.
From printer. May be heard in committee February 26.
Read first time. To print.
|Bill Text Versions||Format|
|01/26/23 - Introduced|
|03/23/23 - Amended Assembly|
|04/16/23- Assembly Human Services|
|05/15/23- Assembly Appropriations|
|05/19/23- ASSEMBLY FLOOR ANALYSIS|
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