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Friday, October 31, 2014
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Human Service Bills: Some Signed - Some Vetoed
Notes on the Legislature

Western Center summarizes Governor Jerry Brown's actions taken on Human Services and Access to Jobs ... Read More..

Several Western Center Sponsored Bills Signed Before Deadline
Notes on the Legislature

The Governor took action on several Western Center sponsored bills hours before the midnight deadlin... Read More..

Statement: Governor's Signature on AB 1522
Notes on the Legislature

Today, Governor Jerry Brown will sign Assembly Bill 1522, authored by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzale... Read More..

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Elimination of CalWORKs Rejected By Budget Committee

Finger Imaging De-funded - Many Items Left Open

The Budget Conference Committee voted 6 to 1 to reject the Governor's proposal to eliminate CalWORKs. All 6 Democrats voted to reject, Senator Dutton voted no and the two Assembly Republicans abstained. The committee also voted to eliminate state funding for fingerimaging over strong protests by the Administrations. The committee held open most other major items including proposals to eliminate CAPI and CFAP.

The committee's vote likely ends serious attempts to eliminate the program. While the Department of Finance said that this cut was painful but that restoration of the programs will cause a widening of the state's budget gap. Committee members disagreed. Assemblymember de Leon called the proposal a "return to the days before the Enlightenment." Republican Assemblymember Jim Nielsen, praised CalWORKs saying the Clinton Administration "had really worked." He said he hoped to save the program while making deep reductions.

The committee had a long discussion about the other CalWORKs options put forth by the Administration and the LAO. The committee seemed most interested in pursuing an LAO/CWDA proposal to exempt some families with small children from work requirements thus saving child care and transportation costs. The committee also seemd poised to support a proposal to expand subsidized employment opportunities for CalWORKs recipients using federal stimulus funds.

The Legislative Analyst Office made several proposals including community service for families in the Safety Net, self-sufficiency reviews for families in sanction status and changing the earned income disregard to only provide the disregard when families meet welfare to work requirements. WCLP has continously opposed these proposals as harmful to families. The committee took no action on the LAO proposals.

The Committee also had lengthy discussions about eliminating CAPI and elimination of finger imaging. Assemblymember Blumenfield noted that the CAPI proposal crossed the line because it was forseeable that but for CAPI the recipients would die. 5 of the 6 Democrats were ready to formally reject elimination of CAPI but Senator Ducheny wanted to consider LAO's proposed limits.

The committee held a spirited discussion on eliminating finger imaging with Senator Leno leading the effort to eliminate the proposal. He engaged in a well crafted debate with the Depatment of Finance which ended with the Department unable to show that states without finger imaging had higher fraud rates. When DOF protested that this would lead to higher state costs in CalWORKs, both co-chairs cut off the Department spokewoman by saying that the Department can't refuse to accoun for obvious impacts from budget cuts but then assert impacts to the budget when they do not like cuts. The committee left open the door to the possibility that they may return to this issue in the future.

While some of the worst proposals now seem unlikely, there is much left that could have severe harm for low income families. The committee hopes to conclude its work Monday so we anticipate a full weekend of work.


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