Welfare-to-Work; Bridge-to-Hope

Establishes a post-secondary education benefits program, known as
the bridge-to-hope program (program), for heads of households in
the temporary assistance to needy families program.  Requires the
University of Hawaii to submit a report on the expenditure of
funds for the program to the legislature prior to the convening
of the regular session of 2001.  Makes appropriation.  (CD1)

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 2
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                H.D. 2
STATE OF HAWAII                                            C.D. 1

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The Federal Personal Responsibility and Work
 2 Opportunity Act of 1996 abolished the sixty-one-year-old Aid to
 3 Families with Dependent Children entitlement program and replaced
 4 it with a transitional aid program called the Temporary
 5 Assistance to Needy Families program that requires recipients who
 6 are able to work to secure employment at the earliest
 7 opportunity.  The new law places a heavy burden on the states to
 8 meet strict work participation requirements.
 9      The federal requirements have set a laudable goal.  Work is
10 the cornerstone of the community's shared values of personal
11 responsibility and self-sufficiency.  In addition, work promotes
12 self-discipline and self-esteem.
13      The vast majority of public assistance recipients share the
14 community values of parental responsibility and work ethic, and
15 will accept financial responsibility for themselves and their
16 children when given a real opportunity to achieve self-
17 sufficiency.  However, many barriers to work frustrate the best
18 efforts of public assistance recipients to join the work force on
19 a permanent basis.  Moreover, strong competition for scarce jobs
20 often leaves behind those with little experience or education.

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                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2
                                                        H.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1      Over ninety per cent of assistance households are currently
 2 headed by women.  Since approximately two-thirds of all women in
 3 Hawaii are working in sales, clerical, and service type jobs,
 4 which receive the lowest wages, it is unlikely that the majority
 5 of assistance households will be able to move out of poverty and
 6 be self-sufficient without adding to their knowledge and skills
 7 to increase their earning capacity.
 8      Toward that end, the legislature finds that transitional
 9 benefits are needed to provide the necessary support to enable
10 recipients to secure education and training beyond high school.
11      The purpose of this Act is to support the successful
12 transition from public assistance to self-sufficiency through a
13 transitional benefits program for public assistance recipients.
14      It is the intent of this Act to encourage the department of
15 human services, through the financial assistance advisory
16 committee, to work in collaboration with the University of Hawaii
17 to establish policies that encourage the pursuit and successful
18 completion of higher education for single parents and their
19 children to achieve a stable future.
20      SECTION 2.  Chapter 346, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
21 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
22 read as follows:
23      "346-    Bridge to hope program; transitional benefits.

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                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 2
                                                        H.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1 (a)  There is created within the department a post-secondary
 2 education benefits program, to be known as the bridge-to-hope
 3 program, for heads of households in the Temporary Assistance to
 4 Needy Families program.
 5      (b)  To receive assistance under this program, the single
 6 parent shall:
 7      (1)  Be enrolled as a student each term;
 8      (2)  Maintain passing grades or better throughout the course
 9           of study; and
10      (3)  Meet work activity requirements as defined by the
11           department.
12      (c)  Internships, externships, practicums, or any other work
13 training required by the course of study shall count toward the
14 recipient's work requirement.
15      (d)  The department shall adopt rules in accordance with
16 chapter 91 to carry out the purpose of this section."
17      SECTION 3.  The University of Hawaii shall submit a report
18 to the legislature on the expenditure of funds for the bridge to
19 hope program to the legislature no later than twenty days prior
20 to the convening of the regular session of 2001.
21      The report shall include the following, enumerated by
22 campus:
23      (1)  The amount of federal matching funds used;

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                                                        H.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1      (2)  The number of students who participate in the program;
 2      (3)  The average amount of hourly pay for work performed by
 3           participating students to meet program requirements;
 4           and
 5      (4)  The number of participating students who are unable to
 6           meet the Temporary Assistance to Needy Family program
 7           work requirements and must be excluded from the
 8           program.
 9      SECTION 4.  There is appropriated out of the general
10 revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $300,000, or so much
11 thereof as may be necessary, for fiscal year 2000-2001, for the
12 bridge-to-hope program.
13      The sum appropriated shall be expended by the University of
14 Hawaii for the purposes of this Act.
15      SECTION 5.  New statutory material is underscored.
16      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.