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  By: Nelson, et al. S.B. No. 11
 
 
 
   
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the administration and operation of the Temporary
  Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
  ARTICLE 1. DRUG SCREENING AND TESTING OF CERTAIN TANF APPLICANTS
  AND RECIPIENTS
         SECTION 1.01.  Subchapter B, Chapter 31, Human Resources
  Code, is amended by adding Section 31.0321 to read as follows:
         Sec. 31.0321.  DRUG SCREENING AND TESTING; ELIGIBILITY.
  (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "Commission" means the Health and Human Services
  Commission.
               (2)  "Controlled substance" has the meaning assigned by
  Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code.
         (b)  Except as provided in Subsections (f) and (g), each
  adult applicant for financial assistance benefits, including an
  applicant applying solely on behalf of a child, who initially
  applies for those benefits or who applies for the continuation of
  those benefits must submit to a controlled substance use screening
  assessment to establish the applicant's or the child's eligibility
  for the benefits.  In addition, each minor parent who is the head of
  household must submit to a controlled substance use screening
  assessment on the initial application for financial assistance
  benefits and on any application for the continuation of those
  benefits to establish the minor's eligibility for the benefits.
         (c)  A person whose controlled substance use screening
  assessment conducted under this section indicates good cause to
  suspect the person of controlled substance use shall submit to a
  drug test to establish the eligibility of the person and the
  person's family for financial assistance benefits.
         (d)  Except as provided in Subsection (e), a person whose
  drug test conducted under this section indicates the presence in
  the person's body of a controlled substance not prescribed for the
  person by a health care practitioner is ineligible for financial
  assistance benefits for the person and the person's family for a
  period of 12 months beginning on the first day of the month after
  the month in which the drug test was administered.
         (e)  A person who is denied financial assistance benefits
  because of the results of a drug test conducted under this section
  may reapply for financial assistance benefits six months after the
  first day of the month after the month in which the drug test was
  administered if the person provides proof of the person's
  successful completion of or current enrollment in a substance abuse
  treatment program. A person reapplying for financial assistance
  benefits must submit to a drug test as required by Subsection (f),
  regardless of whether the person is continuing to receive substance
  abuse treatment.
         (f)  A person who is denied financial assistance benefits
  because of the results of a drug test conducted under this section
  must submit to a drug test, without first submitting to a controlled
  substance use screening assessment, at the time of any
  reapplication for financial assistance benefits and on any
  application for the continuation of those benefits to establish the
  eligibility of the person and the person's family for the benefits.
         (g)  A person who has been convicted of a felony drug offense
  must submit to a drug test, without first submitting to a controlled
  substance use screening assessment, at the time of an initial
  application for financial assistance benefits and on any
  application for the continuation of those benefits to establish the
  eligibility of the person's family for the benefits.
         (h)  If a person is denied eligibility for financial
  assistance benefits three times because of the results of a drug
  test conducted under this section, the person and the person's
  family are permanently ineligible for those benefits.
         (i)  Before denying financial assistance benefits under this
  section, the commission must:
               (1)  notify the person who submitted to a drug test of
  the results of the test and the commission's proposed determination
  of ineligibility; and
               (2)  confirm the results of the drug test through a
  second drug test or other appropriate method.
         (j)  The commission shall:
               (1)  use the most efficient and cost-effective
  controlled substance use screening assessment tool that the
  commission and the Department of State Health Services can develop
  based on validated controlled substance use screening assessment
  tools; and
               (2)  pay the cost of any controlled substance use
  screening assessment or drug test administered under this section
  out of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block
  grant funds.
         (k)  The commission shall report to the Department of Family
  and Protective Services for use in an investigation conducted under
  Chapter 261, Family Code, if applicable, a person whose drug test
  conducted under this section indicates the presence in the person's
  body of a controlled substance not prescribed for the person by a
  health care practitioner.
         (l)  The executive commissioner of the commission shall
  adopt rules implementing this section.
         SECTION 1.02.  (a)  Section 31.0321, Human Resources Code,
  as added by this Act, applies to:
               (1)  an adult applicant, including an applicant
  applying solely on behalf of a child, who initially applies for
  financial assistance benefits under Chapter 31, Human Resources
  Code, on or after the effective date of this Act;
               (2)  a minor parent who is the head of household who
  initially applies for financial assistance benefits under Chapter
  31, Human Resources Code, on or after the effective date of this
  Act;
               (3)  an adult applicant, including an applicant
  applying solely on behalf of a child, who applies for the
  continuation of financial assistance benefits under Chapter 31,
  Human Resources Code, on or after the effective date of this Act;
  and
               (4)  a minor parent who is the head of household who
  applies for the continuation of financial assistance benefits under
  Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, on or after the effective date of
  this Act.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsections (a)(3) and (4) of this
  section, an adult applicant, including an applicant applying solely
  on behalf of a child, and a minor parent who is the head of household
  who applied for financial assistance benefits under Chapter 31,
  Human Resources Code, before the effective date of this Act are
  governed by the law in effect when the person applied for financial
  assistance benefits, and that law is continued in effect for that
  purpose.
  ARTICLE 2. MANDATORY PARTICIPATION IN TANF EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS BY
  CERTAIN PERSONS
         SECTION 2.01.  Section 31.0033(d), Human Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (d)  The executive commissioner of the Health and Human
  Services Commission [department] by rule shall establish criteria
  for good cause failure to cooperate and guidelines for what
  constitutes a good faith effort on behalf of a recipient under this
  section, except that the Texas Workforce Commission shall establish
  criteria for good cause failure to cooperate with regard to work or
  employment activities in accordance with Section 31.012(b).
         SECTION 2.02.  The heading to Section 31.012, Human
  Resources Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 31.012.  MANDATORY WORK OR PARTICIPATION IN EMPLOYMENT
  ACTIVITIES [THROUGH THE JOB OPPORTUNITIES AND BASIC SKILLS
  PROGRAM].
         SECTION 2.03.  Section 31.012, Human Resources Code, is
  amended by amending Subsections (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e) and
  adding Subsections (c-1) and (g) to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (g), the
  Health and Human Services Commission [The department] shall require
  that, during any one-month period in which an adult is receiving or
  the child of a nonrecipient parent is receiving financial
  assistance under this chapter, the adult or nonrecipient parent
  shall during that period:
               (1)  work not less than 30 hours a week; or
               (2)  participate for not less than 20 hours a week in an
  activity established under a Temporary Assistance for Needy
  Families employment program under Part A, Subchapter IV, Social
  Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 601 et seq.) [the job opportunities
  and basic skills (JOBS) training program under Part F, Subchapter
  IV, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 682)].
         (b)  The Texas Workforce Commission [department] by rule
  shall establish criteria for good cause failure to cooperate and
  for notification procedures regarding participation in work or
  employment activities under this section.
         (c)  A person providing care for [who is the caretaker of] a
  family member with a disability [physically or mentally disabled
  child] who lives in the person's home and requires the person's
  [caretaker's] presence is not required to participate in a program
  under this section. A single person who is the caretaker of a child
  is exempt until the caretaker's youngest child at the time the
  caretaker first became eligible for assistance reaches the age of
  one. Notwithstanding Section [Sections] 31.0035(b) [and
  32.0255(b)], the Texas Workforce Commission [department] shall
  provide to a person who is exempt under this subsection and who
  voluntarily participates in a program under Subsection (a)(2) six
  months of transitional benefits in addition to the [applicable]
  limit prescribed by Section 31.0065.
         (c-1)  Notwithstanding Section 531.0055, Government Code,
  the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services
  Commission may not adopt rules that provide exceptions to a
  person's required participation in work or employment activities
  that are in addition to the exceptions provided by Subsections (c)
  and (g). 
         (d)  A state program operated under this section shall be
  administered by the division of workforce development of the Texas
  Workforce Commission [when the program is transferred to that
  commission].
         (e)  The Texas Workforce Commission [department] shall allow
  a person who is participating in work or employment activities
  under this section to complete those activities if the person
  becomes ineligible to receive financial assistance under this
  chapter because the person receives child support in an amount that
  makes the person ineligible for that assistance. The Texas
  Workforce Commission [department] shall provide to the person
  necessary child care services until the date on which the person
  completes work or employment activities under this section.
         (g)  A nonrecipient parent who receives Supplemental
  Security Income (SSI) benefits under 42 U.S.C. Section 1381 et seq.
  is not subject to the requirements of this section.  The Texas
  Workforce Commission may provide services to the nonrecipient
  parent under this chapter in accordance with commission rules.
         SECTION 2.04.  Section 31.014(a), Human Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The Health and Human Services Commission [department]
  shall provide financial assistance, in accordance with
  [department] rules adopted by the executive commissioner of the
  Health and Human Services Commission, to a two-parent family if the
  primary wage earner parent, other than a nonrecipient parent
  described by Section 31.012(g), is registered with a Temporary
  Assistance for Needy Families employment program under Part A,
  Subchapter IV, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 601 et seq.)
  [in the job opportunities and basic skills (JOBS) training program
  under Part F, Subchapter IV, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section
  682)], or is registered with the Texas Workforce [Employment]
  Commission.
         SECTION 2.05.  Sections 31.0126(c) and 31.014(c), Human
  Resources Code, are repealed.
         SECTION 2.06.  Section 31.012, Human Resources Code, as
  amended by this Act, applies to a person receiving financial
  assistance benefits under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code,
  including a nonrecipient parent, as defined by Section 31.0021,
  Human Resources Code, on or after the effective date of this Act,
  regardless of the date the determination of eligibility for those
  benefits was made.
  ARTICLE 3. USE OF TANF BENEFITS
         SECTION 3.01.  Section 31.0355, Human Resources Code, is
  amended by adding Subsection (c-1) to read as follows:
         (c-1)  A retailer who accepts payment for goods and services
  through the EBT system shall ensure that financial assistance
  benefits are not used to purchase goods and services the purchase of
  which is not authorized under this section or rules adopted under
  this section, including alcoholic beverages, tobacco products,
  lottery tickets, adult entertainment, firearms, ammunition, and
  bingo.
  ARTICLE 4. TANF TIME LIMITS
         SECTION 4.01.  Section 31.0035(b), Human Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  Except as provided by Section 31.012(c), the Texas
  Workforce Commission [department] may provide the child-care
  services only until the earlier of:
               (1)  the end of the [applicable] period prescribed by
  Section 31.0065 for the provision of transitional benefits; or
               (2)  the first anniversary of the date on which the
  person becomes ineligible for financial assistance because of
  increased household income.
         SECTION 4.02.  Section 31.0065, Human Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 31.0065.  TIME-LIMITED BENEFITS. (a)  Subject to the
  exemptions adopted under Section 31.0067, the Health and Human
  Services Commission [The department] may provide financial
  assistance under this chapter only in accordance with the time
  limits specified by this section. [The department by rule may
  provide for exceptions to these time limits if severe personal
  hardship or community economic factors prevent the recipient from
  obtaining employment or if the state is unable to provide support
  services.]
         (b)  The Health and Human Services Commission [department]
  shall limit financial assistance provided to a person and the
  person's family to a cumulative total of 36 months of financial
  assistance benefits and 12 months of transitional benefits [and
  transitional benefits in accordance with the following schedule:
               [(1)     financial assistance is limited to a cumulative
  total of 12 months and transitional benefits are limited to 12
  months if the person receiving financial assistance on behalf of a
  dependent child has:
                     [(A)     a high school diploma, a high school
  equivalency certificate, or a certificate or degree from a two-year
  or four-year institution of higher education or technical or
  vocational school; or
                     [(B)  recent work experience of 18 months or more;
               [(2)     financial assistance is limited to a cumulative
  total of 24 months and transitional benefits are limited to 12
  months if the person receiving financial assistance on behalf of a
  dependent child has:
                     [(A)  completed three years of high school; or
                     [(B)     recent work experience of not less than six
  or more than 18 months; and
               [(3)     financial assistance is limited to a cumulative
  total of 36 months and transitional benefits of 12 months if the
  person receiving financial assistance on behalf of a dependent
  child has:
                     [(A)     completed less than three years of high
  school; and
                     [(B)  less than six months of work experience].
         (c)  [If the recipient has completed less than three years of
  high school and has less than six months work experience, the  
  department shall perform an in-depth assessment of the needs of
  that person and that person's family. If the recipient cooperates
  with the department's assessment, the time period prescribed by
  Subsection (b)(3) begins on the first anniversary of the date on
  which the department completes the assessment, as determined by the
  department.
         [(d)]  The computation of time limits under Subsection (b)
  begins when the person begins receiving financial assistance [adult
  or teen parent recipient receives notification under Section
  31.012(b) of the availability of an opening in and eligibility for
  the job opportunity and basic skills (JOBS) program Part F,
  Subchapter IV, Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 682)].
         [(e)     In implementing the time-limited benefits program, the
  department:
               [(1)     shall provide that a participant in the program
  may reapply with the department for financial assistance on or
  after the fifth anniversary of the date on which the participant is
  totally disqualified from receiving assistance because of the
  application of Subsection (b); and
               [(2)     shall establish the criteria for determining what
  constitutes severe personal hardship under Subsection (a).
         [(f)     If the department is imposing time-limited benefits on
  an individual, the department shall consider:
               [(1)     the assessment of the individual's need that was
  conducted by the department, provided that if the needs assessment
  indicates discrepancies between a client's self-reported
  educational level and the client's functional abilities, the time
  limits shall be based upon the functional educational level; and
               [(2)     the prevailing economic and employment
  conditions in the area of the state where the individual resides.]
         SECTION 4.03.  Section 31.0066, Human Resources Code, is
  amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (c) to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The [department, the] Texas Workforce Commission[,] and
  the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services
  Commission shall jointly adopt rules prescribing circumstances
  that constitute a hardship for purposes of exempting a recipient of
  financial assistance from the application of time limits imposed by
  federal law on the receipt of benefits.
         (c)  The rules must include guidelines to address the
  continued participation in work or employment activities required
  under Section 31.012 by recipients of financial assistance exempted
  from the application of time limits imposed by federal law.
         SECTION 4.04.  Subchapter A, Chapter 31, Human Resources
  Code, is amended by adding Section 31.0067 to read as follows:
         Sec. 31.0067.  HARDSHIP EXEMPTIONS FROM STATE TIME LIMITS.
  (a)  The Texas Workforce Commission and the executive commissioner
  of the Health and Human Services Commission shall jointly adopt
  rules prescribing circumstances that constitute a hardship for
  purposes of exempting a recipient of financial assistance from the
  application of time limits imposed by Section 31.0065 on the
  receipt of benefits.
         (b)  The rules must include a broad range of circumstances
  that reasonably prevent recipients of financial assistance from
  becoming self-supporting before expiration of the period specified
  by Section 31.0065.
         (c)  The rules must include guidelines to address the
  continued participation in work or employment activities required
  under Section 31.012 by recipients of financial assistance exempted
  from the application of time limits imposed by Section 31.0065.
         SECTION 4.05.  Section 32.0255(b), Human Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  Except as provided by Section 31.012(c), the state may
  provide the medical assistance only until the earlier of:
               (1)  the end of the [applicable] period prescribed by
  Section 31.0065 for the provision of transitional benefits; or
               (2)  the first anniversary of the date on which the
  person becomes ineligible for financial assistance because of
  increased household income.
         SECTION 4.06.  The Texas Workforce Commission and the
  executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission
  shall adopt the rules required by Section 31.0066, Human Resources
  Code, as amended by this Act, and Section 31.0067, Human Resources
  Code, as added by this Act, not later than December 1, 2013.
         SECTION 4.07.  Section 31.0065, Human Resources Code, as
  amended by this Act, applies to a person receiving financial
  assistance benefits under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, on or
  after January 1, 2014, regardless of the date the determination of
  eligibility for those benefits was made.
  ARTICLE 5. TANF RESPONSIBILITY AGREEMENTS
         SECTION 5.01.  Section 31.0031, Human Resources Code, is
  amended by amending Subsections (a), (d), and (g) and adding
  Subsection (i) to read as follows:
         (a)  The Health and Human Services Commission [department]
  shall require each adult recipient and each teen parent recipient
  who is the head of household to sign a bill of responsibilities that
  defines the responsibilities of the state and of the recipient and
  encourages personal responsibility. The commission [department]
  shall explain to the applicant the work requirements and
  time-limited benefits in addition to the other provisions of the
  agreement before the applicant signs the agreement. The commission 
  [department] shall provide each applicant with a copy of the signed
  agreement. The agreement shall include pertinent case information,
  including the case number and a listing of the state's benefits.
         (d)  The responsibility agreement shall require that:
               (1)  the parent of a dependent child cooperate with the
  Health and Human Services Commission [department] and the Title
  IV-D agency if necessary to establish the paternity of the
  dependent child and to establish or enforce child support;
               (2)  if adequate and accessible providers of the
  services are available in the geographic area and subject to the
  availability of funds, each dependent child, as appropriate,
  complete early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment
  checkups on schedule and receive the immunization series prescribed
  by Section 161.004, Health and Safety Code, unless the child is
  exempt under that section;
               (3)  each adult recipient, or teen parent recipient who
  has completed the requirements regarding school attendance in
  Subdivision (6), not voluntarily terminate paid employment of at
  least 30 hours each week without good cause in accordance with rules
  adopted by the Texas Workforce Commission [department];
               (4)  each adult recipient and each teen parent
  recipient who is the head of household for whom a needs assessment
  is conducted participate in an activity to enable that person to
  become self-sufficient by:
                     (A)  continuing the person's education or
  becoming literate;
                     (B)  entering a job placement or employment skills
  training program;
                     (C)  serving as a volunteer in the person's
  community; or
                     (D)  serving in a community work program or other
  work program approved by the Texas Workforce Commission 
  [department];
               (5)  each caretaker relative or parent receiving
  assistance not use, sell, or possess marihuana or a controlled
  substance in violation of Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, or
  abuse alcohol;
               (6)  each dependent child younger than 18 years of age
  and each [or] teen parent younger than 19 years of age and other
  teen parent recipient who is the head of household attend school
  regularly, unless the person [child] has a high school diploma or
  high school equivalency certificate or is a child who is 
  specifically exempted from school attendance under Section 25.086,
  Education Code;
               (7)  each recipient comply with Health and Human
  Services Commission [department] rules regarding proof of school
  attendance; and
               (8)  each recipient attend appropriate parenting
  skills training classes, as determined by the needs assessment.
         (g)  In this section:
               (1)  "Caretaker relative" means a person who is listed
  as a relative eligible to receive assistance under 42 U.S.C.
  Section 602(a).
               (2)  "Payee" means a person, excluding a nonrecipient
  parent, who resides in a household with a dependent child and who is
  within the degree of relationship with the child that is required of
  a caretaker but whose needs are not included in determining the
  amount of financial assistance provided for the person's household.
         (i)  The Health and Human Services Commission shall require
  each nonrecipient parent to sign a bill of responsibilities that
  defines the responsibilities of the state and of the nonrecipient
  parent.  The responsibility agreement must require that a
  nonrecipient parent comply with the requirements of Subsections
  (d)(1) through (8).
         SECTION 5.02.  Section 31.0031(f), Human Resources Code, is
  repealed.
  ARTICLE 6. STUDY
         SECTION 6.01.  STUDY OF ELECTRONIC PROVISION OF FINANCIAL
  ASSISTANCE BENEFITS. (a)  The Health and Human Services Commission
  shall study the feasibility of providing financial assistance
  benefits under Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, in the form of an
  electronic voucher that can be used and accepted in the same manner
  as a credit card.
         (b)  Not later than September 1, 2014, the Health and Human
  Services Commission shall report its findings to the governor, the
  lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives,
  the Senate Health and Human Services Committee or its successor,
  and the House Human Services Committee or its successor.
         (c)  This section expires September 1, 2015.
  ARTICLE 7. FEDERAL AUTHORIZATION AND EFFECTIVE DATE
         SECTION 7.01.  If before implementing any provision of this
  Act a state agency determines that a waiver or authorization from a
  federal agency is necessary for implementation of that provision,
  the agency affected by the provision shall request the waiver or
  authorization and may delay implementing that provision until the
  waiver or authorization is granted.
         SECTION 7.02.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.