THE SENATE                           S.R. NO.              98
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                                
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                     SENATE RESOLUTION

REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO CONVENE A PUBLIC-
   PRIVATE INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP TO HELP LOW-INCOME
   FAMILIES BECOME SELF-SUFFICIENT.



 1       WHEREAS, in 1996, Congress ended the Aid to Families with
 2   Dependent Children entitlement program and established the
 3   Personal and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996
 4   (Welfare Reform Act) block grant program; and
 5   
 6       WHEREAS, the primary goal of the Welfare Reform Act, which
 7   is authorized for only six years, through 2002, is to encourage
 8   welfare recipients to become self-sufficient; and
 9   
10       WHEREAS, when Congress considers options for reauthorizing
11   the block grant program, states that move beyond "welfare as we
12   knew it" and provide broad support for low-income working
13   families, may gain congressional support for their programs;
14   and
15   
16       WHEREAS, the Welfare Reform Act sets a five-year lifetime
17   limit on cash assistance to recipients of the State's Temporary
18   Assistance to Needy Families Program and the Temporary
19   Assistance to Other Needy Families Program; and
20   
21       WHEREAS, the first group of current welfare recipients will
22   reach their five-year lifetime limit by December 1, 2001, and
23   this is expected to affect an estimated 3,000 families; and
24   
25       WHEREAS, thousands of children will be affected by the loss
26   of their families' cash benefits due to reaching the five-year
27   lifetime limit; and
28   
29       WHEREAS, coordination between state agencies, the business
30   community, and the unions is necessary for job creation,
31   training, and placement of welfare recipients; and
32   
33       WHEREAS, effective, broad-based safety net programs need to
34   be developed, funded, and implemented to:
35   
36       (1)  Overcome barriers to work;
37   
38       (2)  Increase job retention through key supports;

 
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                                  S.R. NO.              98
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1       (3)  Secure education, training, or work experience for
 2            higher paying jobs; and
 3   
 4       (4)  Reduce poverty among families and children;
 5   
 6   and
 7   
 8       WHEREAS, the Urban Institute found that, nationally,
 9   families that left the welfare rolls have low earnings and
10   continue to face significant obstacles in obtaining food and
11   adequate housing; now, therefore,
12   
13       BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twentieth Legislature
14   of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2000, that the
15   Department of Human Services (DHS) is requested to convene a
16   public-private interagency working group to help low-income
17   families become self-sufficient; and
18   
19       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group is requested
20   to discuss, but not be limited to, the following models:
21   
22       (1)  Worker stipend programs;
23   
24       (2)  State Earned Income Tax Credits; and
25   
26       (3)  Job retention and advancement services;
27   
28   and
29   
30       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group is requested
31   to develop a model that helps welfare recipients who reach the
32   five-year lifetime limit find jobs; and
33   
34       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group include, but
35   not be limited to, individuals representing the following
36   organizations:
37   
38       (1)  DHS;
39   
40       (2)  The Department of Business, Economic Development, and
41            Tourism;
42   
43       (3)  The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations;

 
 
 
 
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                                  S.R. NO.              98
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1       (4)  Business associations;
 2   
 3       (5)  Unions;
 4   
 5       (6)  The House of Representatives;
 6   
 7       (7)  The Senate;
 8   
 9       (8)  The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (LASH);
10   
11       (9)  The Welfare and Employment Rights Coalition (WERC);
12            and
13   
14      (10)  The Financial Assistance Advisory Council (Advisory
15            Council);
16   
17   and
18   
19       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DHS is requested to report the
20   findings and recommendations of the working group, including
21   any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than
22   twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of
23   2001; and
24   
25       BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
26   Resolution be transmitted to the Directors of Human Services
27   and Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; the Director
28   of Labor and Industrial Relations, who is requested to transmit
29   this Concurrent Resolution to the unions; the Executive
30   Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, who is requested
31   to transmit this Concurrent Resolution to business association;
32   the President of the Senate; the Speaker of the House of
33   Representatives; the Executive Director of LASH; and the
34   Chairpersons of WERC and the Advisory Council.
35 
36 
37 
38                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________