Dems: Labor & Business Relations Committee Report – Week 7, 2018

February 21, 2018

SF 2353/SSB 3189WIOA Federal Conformity
SF 2370/SSB 3193—DHS Public Assistance Programs 



SF 2353/SSB 3189 brings Iowa Code into conformity with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA). The bill adds definitions; makes changes to the conflict of interest policy for State Workforce Board members; makes changes to the political and gender balance of the State Board; and requires electronic posting of certain State Board information.

The bill makes changes to the membership of the local workforce boards; requires a majority of members representing business; makes the Chief Elected Officials responsible for appointees to the local boards, instead of the Governor; provides a list of functions to be carried out by the local workforce board; and makes changes to the political and gender balance of the local boards.

The bill makes Iowa Workforce Development the lead agency for developing industry and sector partnerships. Currently, the Iowa Department of Education administers sector partnerships along with community colleges.
[2/15: 8-3 (No: Bisignano, Boulton, Taylor)]


SF 2370/SSB 3193 relates to public assistance program oversight and eligibility, including for Medicaid, the Family Investment Program (FIP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The changes include:

Verification of an applicant’s eligibility – The Department of Human Services (DHS) must implement a system for public assistance programs to verify the eligibility of an applicant. DHS may contract with a third-party vendor. Contracts will ensure that annualized savings exceed the contract’s cost to the state. DHS will require applicants to prove residence in the state for at least one year.

Real-time Eligibility Monitoring – DHS, at least quarterly, must obtain and review specified information to determine ongoing eligibility for public assistance. The bill authorizes DHS to contract with a third party. The contract must specify that annualized savings exceed the contract’s cost to the state. If information indicates a potential change or discrepancy in circumstances that may affect eligibility, DHS will review and respond. The bill delineates the appropriate action based on the response of the recipient following the notice.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Work Requirements – The bill prohibits DHS from establishing resource limits for SNAP that exceed those in federal law. Categorical eligibility will not exempt households from limits for non-cash, in-kind or other benefits, unless expressly required by federal law. DHS cannot go above the bare minimum to help more people get a critical safety net, even though federal law allows it. The bill prohibits DHS from seeking a waiver of work requirements applicable to an individual eligible for SNAP.

Medicaid Work Requirements – To be eligible for Medicaid, the recipient will do one of the following:

  • Work 20 hours or more per week, averaged on a monthly basis.
  • Participate in and comply with the requirements of a work program for 20 hours or more per week, as determined by DHS.
  • Volunteer 20 hours or more per week, as determined by DHS.
  • Meet a combination of work and work program participation requirements for 20 hours or more per week, as determined by DHS.

Individuals exempt from work requirements for Medicaid include:

  • Those under 19.
  • Those over 64.
  • Those medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment.
  • Those who are pregnant.
  • A parent or caretaker responsible for a dependent child under age one.
  • A parent or caretaker personally providing the care for a dependent child with a serious medical condition or disability, as determined by DHS.
  • Those receiving unemployment compensation and complying with work requirements of the federal or state unemployment compensation system.
  • Those participating in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program.

The work requirements seem to be aimed at the Iowa Health and Wellness (ACA Medicaid expansion) population (about 150,000 Iowans).

Drug Testing for Applicants (Medicaid, FIP, SNAP) – To receive benefits under a public assistance program, the applicant must take a drug test. Dependent children under 18 are exempt from drug testing. Those who don’t participate in required drug testing are ineligible for benefits. If an individual test positive for a Schedule I (124.204), Substance II, III or IV (124.204) substance that was not prescribed:

  • They must pay for the drug test.
  • They have a right to retake the drug test. DHS will adopt rules specifying the circumstances in which the individual may retake the test.

They may not reply for assistance for one year after the positive test unless they can show successful completion of a licensed substance abuse treatment program. They may then reapply after six months of the positive test result. Cost of any drug testing or substance abuse treatment will be the responsibility of the individual being tested or receiving treatment. Those with a confirmed positive test result after undergoing the substance abuse treatment may reapply for assistance only once.

  • Those who have a subsequent positive test result (after the one year wait period) are ineligible to receive assistance for three years after the subsequent result (unless the individual seeks the substance abuse treatment).
  • If a parent is deemed ineligible for assistance because of the positive test result, the dependent child remains eligible for assistance. A “protective payee” will be designated by the parent to receive assistance on behalf of the child. The protective payee is subject to drug testing.

If the drug test does NOT result in a confirmed positive test result, the cost of the drug test will be reimbursed by being added to the benefits.

Reporting and Reporting of fraud – DHS will report fraud to the Attorney General for review.

Eligible food items – DHS will maintain a list of eligible food and food items for the food assistance program with a numeric-based code assigned to food items. A retailer will not allow a recipient to use a benefit transfer instrument to purchase food and food items that are not include on the list. DHS will assess a civil penalty against a retailer who sells ineligible food items to a recipient: $1,000 for first violation; $2,000 for a second violation occurring within five years of the first violation; and $5,000 for subsequent violations.

Food Assistance Program—Authority to Restrict Use of Benefits – The bill requires DHS to seek a waiver from the USDA so that Iowa can restrict purchases made with food assistance benefits more strictly that federal regulations allow. Under federal regulations, food assistance can only be used to purchase unprepared food and non-alcoholic beverages. The bill would restrict purchases of foods with a low nutritional value that cost more than $8 per pound, or that purport to have health benefits not available in lower-cost foods.

Administration, Implementation, Effective Date – The bill directs DHS to request a waiver, pilot project or other approach restricting the use of certain food assistance benefits.

The bill takes effect upon enactment.
[2/15: 7-4. party line (No: Democrats)]

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