By Wohlgemuth H.B. No. 2631
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to the operation of the financial assistance program.
1-3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-4 SECTION 1. Section 31.0031(c), Human Resources Code, is
1-5 amended to read as follows:
1-6 (c) Subject to the requirements of Sections 31.00321,
1-7 31.00322, and 31.00323, the [
The] department shall adopt rules
1-8 governing sanctions and penalties under this section to or for:
1-9 (1) a person who fails to comply with each applicable
1-10 requirement of the responsibility agreement prescribed by this
1-11 section; and
1-12 (2) the family of a person who fails to comply with
1-13 each applicable requirement of the responsibility agreement.
1-14 SECTION 2. Sections 31.0032(a) and (c), Human Resources
1-15 Code, are amended to read as follows:
1-16 (a) Except as provided by Section 231.115, Family Code, and
1-17 Section 31.00331 [ as added by Chapter 911, Acts of the 75th
1-18 Legislature, Regular Session, 1997], if after an investigation the
1-19 department or the Title IV-D agency determines that a person is not
1-20 complying with a requirement of the responsibility agreement
1-21 required under Section 31.0031, the department immediately shall
1-22 apply appropriate sanctions or penalties regarding the assistance
1-23 provided to or for that person and the person's family under this
2-1 (c) This section does not prohibit the department from
2-2 providing medical assistance, child care, or any other social or
2-3 support services for a person who or a family that is [ an
2-4 individual] subject to sanctions or penalties under this chapter.
2-5 SECTION 3. Subchapter A, Chapter 31, Human Resources Code,
2-6 is amended by adding Sections 31.00321, 31.00322, and 31.00323 to
2-7 read as follows:
2-8 Sec. 31.00321. PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE
2-9 WITH CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS. (a) This section applies only to the
2-10 application of sanctions or penalties to a person who, without good
2-11 cause as determined under Section 31.0033, fails or refuses to
2-12 comply with a requirement of the responsibility agreement under
2-13 Section 31.0031, other than a requirement of the responsibility
2-14 agreement under Section 31.0031(d)(1).
2-15 (b) On a person's first failure or refusal to comply with a
2-16 requirement of the responsibility agreement to which this section
2-17 applies, the department shall reduce the amount of financial
2-18 assistance provided to or for each adult person in the family who
2-19 is not in compliance for a period of two months or until each adult
2-20 member of the family complies, whichever is later.
2-21 (c) On a person's second failure or refusal to comply with a
2-22 requirement of the responsibility agreement to which this section
2-23 applies, the department shall, subject to the requirements of
2-24 Section 31.00331, terminate the total amount of financial
2-25 assistance provided to or for the person and the person's family.
2-26 (d) If the department terminates the total amount of
2-27 financial assistance provided to or for a person and the person's
3-1 family under Subsection (c), the person and the person's family are
3-2 ineligible for subsequent financial assistance for a period of six
3-3 months from the date the department terminated the previous
3-4 financial assistance.
3-5 Sec. 31.00322. PENALTIES AND SANCTIONS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE
3-6 WITH CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT REQUIREMENTS. (a) This section
3-7 applies only to the application of sanctions or penalties to a
3-8 person who, without good cause as determined under Section 31.0033,
3-9 fails or refuses to comply with a requirement of the responsibility
3-10 agreement under Section 31.0031(d)(1).
3-11 (b) On a person's first failure or refusal to comply with a
3-12 requirement of the responsibility agreement under Section
3-13 31.0031(d)(1), the department shall, on the recommendation of the
3-14 Title IV-D agency and subject to the requirements of Section
3-15 31.00331, terminate the total amount of financial assistance
3-16 provided to or for the person and the person's family.
3-17 Sec. 31.00323. INELIGIBILITY RESULTING FROM DRUG-RELATED
3-18 FELONY CONVICTIONS. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a
3-19 person is permanently ineligible for financial assistance if the
3-21 (1) is convicted of an offense under federal law or
3-22 the law of this state or any other state that, at the time of the
3-23 conviction, is classified as a felony by the jurisdiction involved
3-24 and has as an element the possession, use, manufacture, or
3-25 distribution of a controlled substance, as defined in 21 U.S.C.
3-26 Section 802, as amended; and
3-27 (2) committed the offense for which the person is
4-1 convicted while the person was receiving financial assistance.
4-2 (b) The department shall require a recipient of financial
4-3 assistance to notify the department if the recipient is or has been
4-4 convicted of an offense described by Subsection (a).
4-5 (c) A person convicted of an offense described by Subsection
4-6 (a) who has not previously been convicted of an offense described
4-7 by that subsection is not ineligible for financial assistance if
4-8 the person:
4-9 (1) has completed any sentence of confinement or
4-10 imprisonment imposed by the court in connection with the
4-12 (2) is in compliance with the terms and conditions of
4-13 any parole or community supervision; and
4-14 (3) has completed or is participating in a drug
4-15 rehabilitation, counseling, or support program.
4-16 (d) The department shall adopt rules as necessary to
4-17 implement this section.
4-18 (e) This section does not affect the eligibility for
4-19 financial assistance of any other member of the household of a
4-20 person ineligible as a result of a conviction of an offense
4-21 described by Subsection (a).
4-22 SECTION 4. Section 31.0033(c), Human Resources Code, is
4-23 amended to read as follows:
4-24 (c) If the department finds that good cause for
4-25 noncompliance was not shown at a hearing, the department shall
4-26 apply appropriate sanctions or penalties to or for that person or
4-27 that person and the person's family until the department, or the
5-1 Title IV-D agency in a Title IV-D case, determines that the person
5-2 is in compliance with the terms of the responsibility agreement.
5-3 SECTION 5. Subchapter A, Chapter 31, Human Resources Code,
5-4 is amended by adding Sections 31.00331, 31.0038, 31.011, and
5-5 31.0136 to read as follows:
5-6 Sec. 31.00331. CASE REVIEW FOLLOWING NONCOMPLIANCE WITH
5-7 CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS. (a) On the imposition of sanctions or
5-8 penalties under Section 31.00321(b), and before termination of all
5-9 financial assistance for a person and the person's family under
5-10 Section 31.00321(c), the department shall conduct a case review to
5-12 (1) the reasons for the noncompliance of the person
5-13 or a member of the person's family with a requirement of the
5-14 responsibility agreement under Section 31.0031, other than the
5-15 requirement under Section 31.0031(d)(1); and
5-16 (2) support services that will enable the person or
5-17 the member of the person's family to comply with that requirement
5-18 or prevent future noncompliance.
5-19 (b) A representative of the department shall conduct the
5-20 case review in person at the residence of the person or the
5-21 person's family member whose failure to comply with the requirement
5-22 of the responsibility agreement resulted in the imposition of
5-23 sanctions or penalties.
5-24 Sec. 31.0038. EARNED INCOME DISREGARDS FOR EMPLOYMENT. (a)
5-25 If an adult recipient of financial assistance who participates in
5-26 an employment activity described by Section 31.012(b) becomes
5-27 employed while receiving the assistance, the department may not
6-1 consider during the recipient's first six months of employment any
6-2 earned income received by the recipient that would otherwise
6-3 disqualify the recipient from receiving the assistance for purposes
6-4 of determining:
6-5 (1) the amount of financial assistance granted to an
6-6 individual for the support of dependent children; or
6-7 (2) whether the family meets household income and
6-8 resource requirements for financial assistance.
6-9 (b) In adopting rules under this section, the department
6-10 shall ensure that this section applies only to recipients who have
6-11 income in an amount that does not exceed the maximum gross income
6-12 limit set by the department under Section 31.003.
6-13 Sec. 31.011. REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATION IN WORK OR
6-14 EMPLOYMENT ACTIVITIES. (a) Notwithstanding Section 31.0031(d)(3)
6-15 or (4), Section 31.012, or any other law, the department shall
6-16 require, to the maximum extent allowed by federal law, an adult
6-17 receiving financial assistance under this chapter during any
6-18 one-month period to work or participate in an employment activity
6-19 authorized under federal law.
6-20 (b) The department shall modify the requirements of the
6-21 responsibility agreement under Section 31.0031 to comply with the
6-22 requirements of this section.
6-23 Sec. 31.0136. SKILLS TRAINING AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR
6-24 CERTAIN TEEN PARENTS. (a) In this section, "noncustodial parent"
6-25 means the parent of a child with whom the child does not primarily
6-26 reside, including a parent who has been appointed under a court
6-27 order as a joint managing or possessory conservator of the child.
7-1 (b) The department shall require a teen noncustodial parent
7-2 of a child for whom financial assistance is granted to participate
7-4 (1) parenting skills training;
7-5 (2) money management classes; and
7-6 (3) community service work.
7-7 (c) The department by rule shall determine activities that
7-8 satisfy the requirements of this section.
7-9 SECTION 6. Section 31.014, Human Resources Code, is amended
7-10 by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (d) to read as
7-12 (a) The department shall provide financial assistance, in
7-13 accordance with department rules, to a two-parent family if the
7-14 primary wage earner parent is registered in the job opportunities
7-15 and basic skills (JOBS) training program under Part F, Subchapter
7-16 IV, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 682), or is registered
7-17 with the Texas Workforce [ Employment] Commission.
7-18 (d) Notwithstanding any other law, the department shall
7-19 allow a two-parent family to satisfy the requirements for work or
7-20 employment activity participation under Section 31.011 through the
7-21 participation of the primary wage-earner in a work or employment
7-22 activity, or through the combined participation of both the primary
7-23 and secondary wage-earners in work or employment activities.
7-24 SECTION 7. Section 31.032(d), Human Resources Code, is
7-25 amended to read as follows:
7-26 (d) In determining whether an applicant is eligible for
7-27 assistance, the department shall exclude from the applicant's
8-1 available resources:
8-2 (1) $2,000 for the applicant's household or $3,000 if
8-3 there is a person with a disability or a person who is at least 60
8-4 years of age in the applicant's household; and
8-5 (2) the fair market value of the applicant's ownership
8-6 interest in a motor vehicle, but not more than the amount
8-7 determined according to the following schedule:
8-8 (A) if the vehicle will not be used by the
8-9 applicant to satisfy work or employment activity participation
8-10 requirements under the financial assistance program:
8-11 (i) $10,000 of the applicant's ownership
8-12 interest in a primary vehicle; and
8-13 (ii) $5,000 of the applicant's ownership
8-14 interest in a secondary vehicle [ $4,550 on or after September 1,
8-15 1995, but before October 1, 1995]; or
8-16 (B) if the vehicles will be used by the
8-17 applicant to satisfy work or employment activity participation
8-18 requirements under the financial assistance program, $18,000 of the
8-19 applicant's combined ownership interest in a primary and secondary
8-20 vehicle [ $4,600 on or after October 1, 1995, but before October 1,
8-22 [ (C) $5,000 on or after October 1, 1996, but
8-23 before October 1, 1997; and]
8-24 [ (D) $5,000 plus or minus an amount to be
8-25 determined annually beginning on October 1, 1997, to reflect
8-26 changes in the new car component of the Consumer Price Index for
8-27 All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics].
9-1 SECTION 8. Section 31.043(a), Human Resources Code, is
9-2 amended to read as follows:
9-3 (a) To extend the period of supported employment for
9-4 families who receive financial assistance under this chapter and
9-5 except as provided by Section 31.0038, the department may use a
9-6 form of fill-the-gap budgeting or another method under which the
9-7 department disregards earnings of family members who obtain
9-8 employment while receiving the assistance.
9-9 SECTION 9. Sections 31.00321, 31.00322, and 31.00323, Human
9-10 Resources Code, as added by this Act, apply to a person who
9-11 receives financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources
9-12 Code, on or after the effective date of this Act, regardless of the
9-13 date on which eligibility for the financial assistance was
9-15 SECTION 10. Not later than January 1, 2002, the Texas
9-16 Department of Human Services shall require a person who applied for
9-17 financial assistance under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, before
9-18 September 1, 2001, to enter into a new responsibility agreement
9-19 that complies with the requirements of Section 31.011, Human
9-20 Resources Code, as added by this Act, to continue receiving that
9-21 assistance. The department may not enforce the terms of the new
9-22 agreement until the recipient has an opportunity to enter into the
9-24 SECTION 11. If before implementing any provision of this Act
9-25 a state agency determines that a waiver or authorization from a
9-26 federal agency is necessary for implementation of that provision,
9-27 the agency affected by the provision shall request the waiver or
10-1 authorization and may delay implementing that provision until the
10-2 waiver or authorization is granted.
10-3 SECTION 12. This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.