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House Bill 5714 (Enrolled)
Condino, Vagnozzi, Dennis, Waters, Sak, Byrum, Gieleghem, Woodward, Zelenko,
Gaffney, Rocca, Hood, Pumford, Hager, Ehardt, Stahl, Vander Veen, Tobocman,
Adamini, Elkins, Minore, Gleason, Murphy, Cheeks, Smith, Meisner, Plakas,
Reeves, Whitmer, Williams, Kolb, Accavitti, Farrah, and Daniels
and Children Services
Senate Family and Human Services
of Labor & Economic Growth supports the bill.
Background: The bill extends the sunset on two provisions in the Social Welfare Act relating to exemptions and sanctions in the Work First program. Section 57f contains exemptions from Work First for children under 16, children or minor parents attending elementary or secondary school full-time, the parent of a child under the age of 3 months, an individual aged 65 or older, a recipient of supplemental security income, and certain other individuals. Section 57g provides penalties for failure to comply with Work First requirements. These two sections are scheduled to expire on December 31, 2004.
Description of Bill: The bill amends Section 14i of the Social Welfare Act by extending the sunset on Sections 57f (3)(c)(e) and (f) and Section 57g(4)(5)(6) and (7) from December 31, 2004 to December 31, 2005. These sections relate to work requirements in the Family Independence Program, which provides cash assistance to indigent families. Specifically, they define certain groups of people who are deferred from the work requirements, and set forth the sanctions when a non-deferred person fails to comply with the work requirements without good cause.
Summary of Arguments
Pro: The Department of Labor & Economic Growth and the Family Independence Agency have initiated a collaborative process designed to develop a new program model and perhaps a new name for the Work First program. Postponing the sunsets for a year will provide time for the department directors to review the recommendations of the collaborative group established to review the program.
Con: If the sunsets occurred, Michigan’s requirements would default to the federal exemptions and sanctions. This would not necessarily be a bad outcome. The Center for Civil Justice has argued that the current exemptions are too restrictive. For instance, one of the exemptions in Michigan’s law is for parents of children 3 months or younger. Federal law allows states to exempt parents of children under age 1 from work requirements. Many feel that it would be good for children if the parent could remain at home with the child during that crucial first year. Representative Murphy introduced a bill (House Bill 5860) in the current session that would have made this change.
Budgetary: No budgetary impact on the department.
Revenue: No impact on department revenue.
Budgetary: No budgetary impact on the state.
Revenue: No impact on state revenue.
Other Pertinent Information:
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