BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 608


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          Date of Hearing:  April 22, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          608 (Gordon) - As Introduced February 24, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill adds specific information about school-based nutrition  
          programs and other programs intended to serve children to the  
          information counties are required to provide to households  








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          applying for CalFresh benefits. Specifically, this bill:


          1)Requires a county human services agency to compile a list of  
            emergency and supplemental food providers, including local  
            child feeding and summer feeding programs, and requires that  
            list to be updated with information the county receives from  
            emergency and supplemental food assistance providers, cities,  
            school districts, summer lunch providers, the State Department  
            of Education, and the California Special Supplemental  
            Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  
            Program.


          2)Requires that list to be made available to households applying  
            for CalFresh and deletes the requirement for households to  
            receive the information only upon request.


          3)Requires the county human services agency to inform households  
            applying for CalFresh that if the household is certified for  
            CalFresh, any child under age five in the household is  
            income-eligible for the WIC Program, and that all children in  
            the household are directly certified for the National School  
            Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program without further  
            application.


          4)Requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to inform all  
            CalFresh households annually, prior to the end of the school  
            year, about the summer meal program, as specified.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          Likely minor state-reimbursable local costs (GF) for counties to  
          update their emergency food provider lists and provide  
          information to applicant families with children.  








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          COMMENTS:


          Purpose. This bill seeks to make existing child nutrition  
          programs more accessible to families with children by  
          guaranteeing they receive information about existing programs,  
          including application and eligibility requirements, upon seeking  
          food assistance benefits at the county CalFresh office. 


          The author states, "According to the Center on Budget and Policy  
          Priorities, approximately 81% of households applying for  
          CalFresh have children.  Children in households determined  
          eligible for CalFresh are also eligible for the National School  
          Lunch Program.  However, the application for CalFresh  
          eligibility can take up to 30 days to process and, in the  
          meantime, a child can go hungry.  Additionally, many families do  
          not know that their CalFresh certification can qualify them for  
          the school meal program or how to apply for the program if their  
          child is in need of a school day meal before their CalFresh  
          eligibility is determined.  This is especially true when a  
          family's change in circumstance, like loss of job or family  
          illness, makes the family newly eligible after the school year  
          begins.  This bill would better inform households applying for  
          CalFresh of resources.  These important changes would provide  
          struggling families with the ability to reduce the incidences of  
          child hunger."





          Background:  CalFresh benefits are funded entirely by the  
          federal government through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance  
          Program (SNAP), and the United States Department of Agriculture  
          (USDA) sets specific eligibility requirements for SNAP programs  
          across the United States, including a gross and net income test,  








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          work requirements, and other documentation requirements.  The  
          maximum allowable gross income is 130% of the Federal Poverty  
          Level (FPL).  Households with elderly or disabled members are  
          not subject to gross income criteria but must have a net monthly  
          income at or below 100% of the FPL.  Other households must meet  
          both gross and net monthly income tests.  CalFresh is  
          administered locally by county human services agencies, and the  
          federal, state, and county governments share in the cost of  
          administration of the program.  


          Public and non-profit private schools can choose to participate  
          in the National School Breakfast and School Lunch Programs.   
          Both programs provide schools with cash subsidies from the USDA  
          for each meal served. Children from families who meet federal  
          SNAP guidelines are eligible for free meals through the national  
          school meals programs.  If their household incomes are between  
          130% and 185% of the poverty level, they are eligible for  
          reducedprice meals, for which students can be charged no more  
          than 40 cents.  


          Prior Legislation. AB 2115 (Bradford), 2014, was substantially  
          similar to this bill.  It was held on the Senate Appropriations  
          Committees Suspense File.
          





          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Swenson / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081














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