INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Evans
   (Coauthors: Assembly Members Chan, Hancock, Koretz, and Mullin)
   (Coauthor: Senator Kuehl)

                        FEBRUARY 22, 2006

   An act to add Section 18901.55 to the Welfare and Institutions
Code, relating to food stamps.


   AB 2205, Evans  Food Stamp Program: categorical eligibility.
   Existing law provides for the federal Food Stamp Program, under
which each county distributes food stamps provided by the federal
government to eligible households, and the CalWORKs program, under
which each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to
qualified low-income families and individuals.
   Existing law also provides for the Medi-Cal program, which is
administered by the State Department of Health Services, pursuant to
which medical benefits are provided to public assistance recipients
and other low-income persons.
   Under existing law, the State Department of Social Services is
required to develop a program of categorical eligibility under the
Food Stamp Program for persons receiving certain cash assistance for
indigent persons.
   This bill would require the department to establish a similar
categorical eligibility program for recipients of benefits under the
Medi-Cal program, when those individuals will be receiving or are
eligible to receive benefits or services funded under the federal
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The bill
would require the department to establish the program by July 1,
2007, and to fully implement it as to new food stamp applicants by
January 1, 2008.
   Because counties administer the Food Stamp Program, this bill
would increase county duties by potentially extending the period of
eligibility for these programs for certain recipients, and would
thereby impose a state-mandated local program.
  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
   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 these
statutory provisions.


  SECTION 1.  The Legislature finds and declares all of the
   (a) Poor nutrition threatens the health of over two million
California children who are hungry or food insecure.
   (b) The federal school lunch and breakfast programs are effective
tools to prevent childhood hunger and improve nutrition.
   (c) These school meal programs are severely underutilized. Only
one-half of students receive lunch at school and only 18 percent
receive school breakfast.
   (d) Not at all eligible low-income children in California are
enrolled in these meal programs, and many of those that are enrolled
cannot afford the 40 cents required for a reduced price meal.
   (e) Congress and the Legislature have made it easier to enroll
children in school meals programs by passing legislation to require
that recipients of food stamps and other programs automatically
receive free school meals.
   (f) These efforts to increase the number of food stamp recipients
that receive free school meals are hampered by California's poor food
stamp participation rate.
   (g) Other states have identified ways to improve food stamp
participation by making it easier for participants in other
low-income programs to receive food stamps.
   (h) Improving the ease with which the many Medi-Cal recipients who
receive food stamps will also increase the number of children eating
free meals at school pursuant to existing legislation.
   (i) The program of categorical eligibility established pursuant to
this act will improve health, remove administrative barriers, and
increase the amount of federal nutrition resources coming to
  SEC. 2.  Section 18901.55 is added to the Welfare and Institutions
Code, to read:
   18901.55.  (a) The department shall establish a program of
categorical eligibility for food stamps, in accordance with
subdivision (a) of Section 5 of the federal Food Stamp Act (7 U.S.C.
Sec. 2014(a)), and implementing regulations, for any individual
receiving medical assistance under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section
14000) of Part 3 when the individual is a member of a household that
will be receiving or is eligible to receive specified benefits or
services, such as a referral form, funded by the federal Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families block grant, as provided in Part A of
Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et
seq.). The program may include other applicants for food stamps, but
shall include only those households eligible for benefits equal to or
greater than the minimum federal food stamp benefit.
   (b) The director shall implement the program established pursuant
to this section only with the appropriate federal authorization, and
if implementation would not result in the loss of federal financial
   (c) The program authorized by this section shall be established no
later than July 1, 2007, and shall be fully implemented as to new
applicants for food stamps by January 1, 2008. Thereafter, counties
shall make reasonable efforts to review existing Medi-Cal cases to
identify individuals who could benefit from the program of
categorical eligibility. Nothing shall preclude a county from
undertaking these reviews prior to January 1, 2008.
  SEC. 3.  If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this
act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local
agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant
to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of
the Government Code.