1997 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Representative Moody
House Bill 766
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-17-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO ACCEPT THE MANDATORY PROVISIONS AND BENEFITS OF THE FEDERAL PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND WORK OPPORTUNITY RECONCILIATION ACT OF 1996 (PUBLIC LAW 104-193); TO EMPOWER THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO COOPERATE WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC LAW 104-193 AND ANY AMENDMENTS ISSUED THERETO AND TO ADMINISTER FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT; TO PROVIDE THAT FUNDS RECEIVED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 104-193 SHALL BE SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION OF THE LEGISLATURE; TO SET FORTH THE PURPOSE OF THE MISSISSIPPI TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) PROGRAM AND TO AUTHORIZE ASSISTANCE TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN AND CARETAKER RELATIVES UNDER THE PROGRAM; TO AMEND SECTION 43-17-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY DEFINITIONS UNDER THE TANF PROGRAM; TO AMEND SECTION 43-17-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PRESCRIBE THE AMOUNT OF ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS UNDER THE TANF PROGRAM; TO PROVIDE A FAMILY LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT OF ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS; TO PRESCRIBE CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS WHO SHALL BE DENIED TANF BENEFITS; TO PROVIDE A TIME LIMITATION ON THE RECEIPT OF TANF BENEFITS; TO PROVIDE CONDITIONS FOR COMPULSORY-SCHOOL-AGE RECIPIENTS OF TANF ASSISTANCE TO ATTEND SCHOOL IN ORDER FOR THEIR FAMILIES TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE; TO PROVIDE CONDITIONS FOR CARETAKER RELATIVES TO HAVE THEIR DEPENDENT CHILDREN VACCINATED IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ASSISTANCE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PARENT OR CARETAKER RELATIVE APPLYING FOR TANF ASSISTANCE SHALL BE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE IN AN ALLOWABLE WORK ACTIVITY FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO OPERATE A STATEWIDE WORK PROGRAM FOR TANF RECIPIENTS; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS FROM THE WORK REQUIREMENTS; TO PRESCRIBE ALLOWABLE WORK ACTIVITIES; TO PROVIDE BENEFIT PENALTIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH REQUIRED WORK ACTIVITY; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO PROVIDE CHILD CARE AND TRANSPORTATION FOR ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS UNDER THE TANF PROGRAM; AND TO AUTHORIZE TRANSITIONAL MEDICAID ASSISTANCE UNDER THE TANF PROGRAM; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO ENTER AGREEMENTS WITH THE PERSONNEL BOARD AND STATE AGENCIES TO ALLOW QUALIFIED TANF RECIPIENTS TO BE PLACED IN STATE JOBS; TO AMEND SECTION 43-17-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO INCLUDE CERTAIN AGENCIES IN TANF PLANNING ACTIVITIES; TO AMEND SECTIONS 43-17-9 THROUGH 43-17-25, 9-5-255, 43-1-2, 43-1-19, 43-27-33 AND 93-9-35, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AMEND SECTION 43-1-28, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE STATEWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ON-LINE EBT SYSTEM FOR FOOD STAMPS BY OCTOBER 1, 1999; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO DEVELOP AN ON-LINE EBT SYSTEM FOR TANF ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS; TO AMEND SECTION 43-1-30, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR A MISSISSIPPI TANF IMPLEMENTATION COUNCIL AND PRESCRIBE ITS MEMBERSHIP; TO PRESCRIBE CERTAIN DUTIES FOR THE DEPARTMENT REGARDING RECIPIENTS OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE; TO AMEND SECTION 27-7-22.1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR A TANF TAX CREDIT FOR EMPLOYERS; TO AMEND SECTION 43-13-115, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM THOSE PERSONS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE MEDICAID ASSISTANCE TO THE TANF PROGRAM; TO AUTHORIZE TRANSITIONAL MEDICAID ASSISTANCE FOR TANF RECIPIENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO ESTABLISH A TASK FORCE TO REVIEW THE INCIDENCE AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUT-OF-WEDLOCK PREGNANCIES IN MISSISSIPPI AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS THEREON; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO SEEK FEDERAL FUNDS FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT TO HELP TANF RECIPIENTS PROVIDE JOBS; TO AMEND SECTION 41-79-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SUBJECT TO AVAILABLE FUNDS AND APPROPRIATION BY THE LEGISLATURE, TO IMPLEMENT A PREVENTION OF TEEN PREGNANCY PILOT PROGRAM IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBERS OF TEEN PREGNANCIES AND TO AUTHORIZE, SUBJECT TO AVAILABLE FUNDS AND APPROPRIATION BY THE LEGISLATURE, AN ABSTINENCE EDUCATION PILOT PROGRAM AND SPECIFY THE COMPONENTS OF THE ABSTINENCE EDUCATION SERVICES; TO REPEAL SECTION 43-17-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH DIRECTS THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO IMPLEMENT AN AFDC UNEMPLOYED PARENTS PROGRAM AND SECTIONS 43-49-1, 43-49-3, 43-49-8, 43-49-9, 43-49-11, 43-49-13 AND 43-49-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH IS THE MISSISSIPPI WELFARE PROGRAM RESTRUCTURING ACT OF 1993 AND WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF REQUIRED WELFARE REFORM COMPONENTS OF THE FEDERAL FAMILY SUPPORT ACT OF 1988 AND THE FEDERAL JOB OPPORTUNITY AND BASIC SKILLS (JOBS) TRAINING PROGRAM, PROVIDE CONDITIONS FOR ELIGIBILITY FOR AFDC BENEFITS AND PRESCRIBE CERTAIN DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, PROVIDE FOR A WORK ENCOURAGEMENT PROGRAM UNDER APPLICABLE FEDERAL WAIVERS, PROVIDE FOR A WORK FIRST PILOT PROGRAM UNDER APPLICABLE FEDERAL WAIVERS, REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO PREPARE WAIVER REQUESTS FOR THE WELFARE REFORM PROGRAM, AND AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT TO REQUEST ADDITIONAL WAIVERS REGARDING WELFARE REFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-17-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-1. (1) The State of Mississippi hereby accepts all of the mandatory provisions and benefits, with the exception of those provisions under which the state may exercise its options, of Title I of an act passed by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, entitled: "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193)," and known as the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
(2) The Department of Human Services shall have all necessary authority to cooperate with the federal government in the administration of Public Law 104-193 and all subsequent federal amendments thereto, to administer any legislation pursuant thereto enacted by the State of Mississippi, and to administer the funds provided by the federal government and the State of Mississippi under the provisions of Section 43-17-1 et seq., for providing temporary assistance for needy families with minor children. The Department of Human Services shall have full authority to formulate state plans consistent with state law as necessary to administer and operate federal grant funds which provide temporary assistance for needy families with minor children under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act. The Department of Human Services shall identify in any state plan submitted to implement the TANF program those requirements or restrictions, including persons excluded from program participation which are required under federal law, and those program requirements or restrictions which the federal law authorizes but does not require.
(3) Any funds received by the State of Mississippi under the provisions of Public Law 104-193 shall be subject to appropriation by the Legislature and consistent with the terms and conditions required under such appropriation.
(4) The purpose of the Mississippi Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program shall be to:
(a) Provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives when such care is beneficial and may be monitored on a random basis by the Department of Human Services or the State Department of Health;
(b) End the dependence of needy families on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage through, among other things, job placement, job training and job retention;
(c) Prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies;
(d) Encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families; and
(e) Prevent program fraud and abuse.
(5) The Department of Human Services shall develop outcome and output indicators for each program established under the authority of this section. These measures shall provide legislators and administrators with information which measures the success or failure of the department in implementing the programs implemented under the authority of this section. The department shall annually report to the Legislature the outputs and outcomes of these programs, with the first report due by December 15, 1997. Such reports shall include recommendations for making programs more effective or efficient which can be effected in accordance with federal law.
(6) Assistance may be granted under this chapter to any dependent child and a caretaker relative who are living in a suitable family home meeting the standards of care and health and work requirements fixed by the laws of this state, and the rules and regulations of the State Department of Human Services. * * *
SECTION 2. Section 43-17-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-3. As used in this chapter:
(a) "State department" means the State Department of Human Services.
(b) "County department" means the county department of human services and the county director of human services of each of the several counties in this state.
(c) "Dependent child" means a needy child under the age of eighteen (18), who has been deprived of parental support or care by reason of the death, continued absence from the home, or physical or mental incapacity of a parent, or the unemployment of the parent who is the principal earner, and who is living with his caretaker relative, in a place of residence maintained by one or more of such relatives as his or their own home, or who is placed in foster care pursuant to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. * * *
(d) "Caretaker relative" means a person who is providing care to a child qualified for and receiving assistance and who is the child's father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or any blood relative, including those of half-blood, and including first cousins or first cousins once removed, nephews, or nieces, and persons of preceding generations as denoted by the prefix of grand, great, or great-great, including great-great-great-grandparents, stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother and stepsister, persons who legally adopt a child or his parent, as well as the natural and other legally adopted children of such persons, and spouses of any persons named in the above groups. For the purposes of this chapter, all such relatives shall qualify as such whether the relationship be acquired by birth or adoption, and neither divorce nor death shall terminate any such relationship.
(e) "Assistance" means payment, including vendor or "in kind" payment to a TANF recipient, with respect to a dependent child or children paid to caretaker relatives * * * or to other approved persons, agencies, associations, corporations or institutions providing medical or foster care, maintenance, work * * * or training programs as authorized by the federal Social Security Act, as amended, to strengthen family life through services to children, foster care for children, work * * * programs and services aimed at restoring individuals to independence and self-support; administrative costs, physical examinations, day care or child care arrangements essential to work * * * programs.
(f) "Child's budget" means that mathematical computation used by county human service departments by which the Mississippi Standard of Need is compared to the income and resources of a family unit to determine the amount, if any, of assistance to which each family unit may be entitled, with full consideration given to the number of members in a family unit.
SECTION 3. Section 43-17-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-5. (1) The amount of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits which may be granted for any dependent child and a needy caretaker relative shall be determined by the county department with due regard to the resources and necessary expenditures of the family and the conditions existing in each case, and in accordance with the rules and regulations made by the * * * Department of Human Services which shall not be less than the Standard of Need in effect for 1988, and shall be sufficient when added to all other income (except that any income specified in the federal Social Security Act, as amended, may be disregarded) and support available to the child to provide such child with a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health. The first family member in the dependent child's budget may receive an amount not to exceed Sixty Dollars ($60.00) per month; the second family member in the dependent child's budget may receive an amount not to exceed Thirty-six Dollars ($36.00) per month; and each additional family member in the dependent child's budget an amount not to exceed Twenty-four Dollars ($24.00) per month. The maximum for any individual family member in the dependent child's budget may be exceeded for foster or medical care or in cases of mentally retarded or physically handicapped children. TANF benefits granted shall be specifically limited only (a) to children existing or conceived at the time the caretaker relative initially applies and qualifies for such assistance, unless this limitation is specifically waived by the department, or (b) to a child born following a twelve (12) consecutive month period of discontinued benefits by the caretaker relative.
(2) TANF cash benefits in Mississippi shall be provided by monthly checks mailed to the recipient family until such time as an on-line electronic benefits transfer system for TANF benefit payments is implemented pursuant to Section 43-1-28.
(3) The Department of Human Services shall deny TANF benefits to the following categories of individuals, except for individuals and families specifically exempt or excluded for good cause as allowed by federal statute or regulation:
(a) Families without a minor child residing with the custodial parent or other adult caretaker relative of the child;
(b) Families which include an adult who has received TANF assistance for sixty (60) months after the commencement of the Mississippi TANF program, whether or not such period of time is consecutive;
(c) Families not assigning to the state any rights a family member may have, on behalf of the family member or of any other person for whom the family member has applied for or is receiving such assistance, to support from any other person, as required by law;
(d) Families who fail to cooperate in establishing paternity or obtaining child support, as required by law;
(e) Any individual who has not attained eighteen (18) years of age, is not married to the head of household, has a minor child at least twelve (12) weeks of age in his or her care, and has not successfully completed a high school education or its equivalent, if such individual does not participate in educational activities directed toward the attainment of a high school diploma or its equivalent, or an alternative educational or training program approved by the department;
(f) Any individual who has not attained eighteen (18) years of age, is not married, has a minor child in his or her care, and does not reside in a place or residence maintained by a parent, legal guardian or other adult relative or the individual as such parent's, guardian's or adult relative's own home;
(g) Any minor child who has been, or is expected by a parent or other caretaker relative of the child to be, absent from the home for a period of more than thirty (30) days;
(h) Any individual who is a parent or other caretaker relative of a minor child who fails to notify the department of the absence of the minor child from the home for the thirty-day period specified in paragraph (g), by the end of the five-day period that begins with the date that it becomes clear to the individual that the minor child will be absent for the thirty-day period;
(i) Any individual who fails to comply with the provisions of the Employability Development Plan signed by the individual which prescribe those activities designed to help the individual become and remain employed, or to participate satisfactorily in the assigned work activity, as authorized under subsection (6)(c);
(j) A parent or caretaker relative who has not engaged in an allowable work activity once the department determines the parent or caretaker relative is ready to engage in work, or once the parent or caretaker relative has received TANF assistance under the program for twenty-four (24) months, whether or not consecutive, whichever is earlier;
(k) Any individual who is fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after conviction, under the laws of the jurisdiction from which the individual flees, for a crime, or an attempt to commit a crime, which is a felony under the laws of the place from which the individual flees, or who is violating a condition of probation or parole imposed under federal or state law;
(l) Aliens who are not qualified under federal law;
(m) For a period of ten (10) years following conviction, individuals convicted in federal or state court of having made a fraudulent statement or representation with respect to the individual's place of residence in order to receive TANF, food stamps or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) assistance under Title XVI or Title XIX simultaneously from two (2) or more states; and
(n) Individuals who are recipients of federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) assistance.
(4) (a) Any person who is otherwise eligible for TANF benefits, including custodial and noncustodial parents, shall be required to attend school and meet the monthly attendance requirement as provided in this subsection if all of the following apply:
(i) The person is under age twenty (20);
(ii) The person has not graduated from a public or private high school or obtained a GED equivalent;
(iii) The person is physically able to attend school and is not excused from attending school; and
(iv) If the person is a parent or caretaker relative with whom a dependent child is living, child care is available for the child.
The monthly attendance requirement under this subsection shall be attendance at the school in which the person is enrolled for each day during a month that the school conducts classes in which the person is enrolled, with not more than two (2) absences during the month for reasons other than the reasons listed in paragraph (e)(iv) of this subsection. Persons who fail to meet participation requirements in this subsection shall be subject to sanctions as provided in paragraph (f) of this subsection.
(b) As used in this subsection, "school" means any one (1) of the following:
(i) A school as defined in Section 37-13-91(2);
(ii) A vocational, technical and adult education program; or
(iii) A course of study meeting the standards established by the State Department of Education for the granting of a declaration of equivalency of high school graduation.
(c) If any compulsory-school-age child, as defined in Section 37-13-91(2), to which TANF eligibility requirements apply is not in compliance with the compulsory school attendance requirements of Section 37-13-91(6), the superintendent of schools of the school district in which the child is enrolled or eligible to attend shall notify the county department of human services of the child's noncompliance. The Department of Human Services shall review school attendance information as provided under this paragraph at all initial eligibility determinations and upon subsequent report of unsatisfactory attendance.
(d) The signature of a person on an application for TANF benefits constitutes permission for the release of school attendance records for that person or for any child residing with that person. The department shall request information from the child's school district about the child's attendance in the school district's most recently completed semester of attendance. If information about the child's previous school attendance is not available or cannot be verified, the department shall require the child to meet the monthly attendance requirement for one (1) semester or until the information is obtained. The department shall use the attendance information provided by a school district to verify attendance for a child. The department shall review with the parent or caretaker relative a child's claim that he or she has a good cause for not attending school.
A school district shall provide information to the department about the attendance of a child who is enrolled in a public school in the district within five (5) working days of the receipt of a written request for such information from the department. The school district shall define how many hours of attendance count as a full day and shall provide that information, upon request, to the department. In reporting attendance, the school district may add partial days' absence together to constitute a full day's absence.
(e) A child who is required to attend school to meet the requirements under this subsection shall comply except when there is good cause, which shall be demonstrated by any of the following circumstances:
(i) The minor parent is the caretaker of a child less than twelve (12) weeks old; or
(ii) The department determines that child care services are necessary for the minor parent to attend school and there is no child care available; or
(iii) The child is prohibited by the school district from attending school and an expulsion is pending. This exemption no longer applies once the teenager has been expelled; however, a teenager who has been expelled and is making satisfactory progress towards obtaining a GED equivalent shall be eligible for TANF benefits; or
(iv) The child failed to attend school for one or more of the following reasons:
1. Illness, injury or incapacity of the child or the minor parent's child;
2. Court-required appearances or temporary incarceration;
3. Medical or dental appointments for the child or minor parent's child;
4. Death of a close relative;
5. Observance of a religious holiday;
6. Family emergency;
7. Breakdown in transportation;
8. Suspension; or
9. Any other circumstance beyond the control of the child, as defined in regulations of the department.
(f) Upon determination that a child has failed without good cause to attend school as required, the department shall provide written notice to the parent or caretaker relative (whoever is the primary recipient of the TANF benefits) that specifies:
(i) That the family will be sanctioned in the next possible payment month because the child who is required to attend school has failed to meet the attendance requirement of this subsection;
(ii) The beginning date of the sanction, and the child to whom the sanction applies;
(iii) The right of the child's parents or caretaker relative (whoever is the primary recipient of the TANF benefits) to request a fair hearing under this subsection.
The child's parent or caretaker relative (whoever is the primary recipient of the TANF benefits) may request a fair hearing on the department's determination that the child has not been attending school. If the child's parents or caretaker relative does not request a fair hearing under this subsection, or if, after a fair hearing has been held, the hearing officer finds that the child without good cause has failed to meet the monthly attendance requirement, the department shall discontinue or deny TANF benefits to the child thirteen (13) years old, or older, in the next possible payment month. The department shall discontinue or deny twenty-five percent (25%) of the family grant when a child six (6) through twelve (12) years of age without good cause has failed to meet the monthly attendance requirement. Both the child and family sanction may apply when children in both age groups fail to meet the attendance requirement without good cause. A sanction applied under this subsection shall be effective for one (1) month for each month that the child failed to meet the monthly attendance requirement. In the case of a dropout, the sanction shall remain in force until the parent or caretaker relative provides written proof from the school district that the child has reenrolled and met the monthly attendance requirement for one (1) calendar month. Any month in which school is in session for at least ten (10) days during the month may be used to meet the attendance requirement under this subsection. This includes attendance at summer school. The sanction shall be removed the next possible payment month.
(5) All parents or caretaker relatives shall have their dependent children receive vaccinations and booster vaccinations against those diseases specified by the State Health Officer pursuant to Section 41-23-37 in accordance with the vaccination and booster vaccination schedule prescribed by the State Health Officer for children of that age, in order for the parents or caretaker relatives to be eligible or remain eligible to receive TANF benefits. Proof of having received such vaccinations and booster vaccinations shall be given by presenting the certificates of vaccination issued by any health care provider licensed to administer vaccinations, and submitted on forms specified by the State Board of Health. If the parents without good cause do not have their dependent children receive the vaccinations and booster vaccinations as required by this subsection and they fail to comply after thirty (30) days' notice, the department shall sanction the family's TANF benefits by twenty-five percent (25%) for the next payment month and each subsequent payment month until the requirements of this subsection are met.
(6) (a) If the parent or caretaker relative applying for TANF assistance is an employable person, as determined by the Department of Human Services, the person shall be required to engage in an allowable work activity once the department determines the parent or caretaker relative is ready to engage in work, or once the parent or caretaker relative has received TANF assistance under the program for twenty-four (24) months, whether or not consecutive, whichever is earlier. No TANF benefits shall be given to any person to whom this section applies who fails without good cause to comply with the Employability Development Plan prepared by the department for the person, or who has refused to accept a referral or offer of employment, training or education in which he or she is able to engage, subject to the penalties prescribed in subsection (6)(d). A person shall be deemed to have refused to accept a referral or offer of employment, training or education if he or she:
(i) Willfully fails to report for an interview with respect to employment when requested to do so by the department; or
(ii) Willfully fails to report to the department the result of a referral to employment; or
(iii) Willfully fails to report for allowable work activities as prescribed in subsection (6)(c).
(b) The Department of Human Services shall operate a statewide work program for TANF recipients to provide work activities and supportive services to enable families to become self-sufficient and improve their competitive position in the work force in accordance with the requirements of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193), as amended, and the regulations promulgated thereunder. All adults who are not specifically exempt shall be referred by the department for allowable work activities. An adult may be exempt from the mandatory work activity requirement for the following reasons:
(ii) Temporary illness or injury, verified by physician's certificate;
(iii) Is in the third trimester of pregnancy, verified by physician's certificate;
(iv) Caretaker of a child under twelve (12) months, for not more than twelve (12) months of the sixty-month maximum benefit period;
(v) Caretaker of an ill or incapacitated person, as verified by physician's certificate;
(vi) Age, if over sixty (60) or under eighteen (18) years of age;
(vii) Receiving treatment for substance abuse, if the person is in compliance with the substance abuse treatment plan;
(viii) In a two-parent family, the caretaker of a severely disabled child, as verified by a physician's certificate; or
(ix) History of having been a victim of domestic violence, which has been reported as required by state law and is substantiated by police reports or court records, and being at risk of further domestic violence, shall be exempt for a period as deemed necessary by the department but not to exceed a total of twelve (12) months, which need not be consecutive, in the sixty-month maximum benefit period. For the purposes of this paragraph (ix), "domestic violence" means that an individual has been subjected to:
1. Physical acts that resulted in, or threatened to result in, physical injury to the individual;
2. Sexual abuse;
3. Sexual activity involving a dependent child;
4. Being forced as the caretaker relative of a dependent child to engage in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities;
5. Threats of, or attempts at, physical or sexual abuse;
6. Mental abuse; or
7. Neglect or deprivation of medical care.
(c) For all families, all adults who are not specifically exempt shall be required to participate in work activities for at least the minimum average number of hours per week specified by federal law or regulation, not fewer than twenty (20) hours per week (thirty-five (35) hours per week for two-parent families) of which are attributable to the following allowable work activities:
(i) Unsubsidized employment;
(ii) Subsidized private employment;
(iii) Subsidized public employment;
(iv) Work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing), if sufficient private employment is not available;
(v) On-the-job training;
(vi) Job search and job readiness assistance consistent with federal TANF regulations;
(vii) Community service programs;
(viii) Vocational educational training (not to exceed twelve (12) months with respect to any individual);
(ix) The provision of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program;
(x) Satisfactory attendance at high school or in a course of study leading to a high school equivalency certificate, for heads of household under age twenty (20) who have not completed high school or received such certificate;
(xi) Education directly related to employment, for heads of household under age twenty (20) who have not completed high school or received such equivalency certificate.
The following are allowable work activities which may be attributable to hours in excess of the minimum specified above:
(i) Job skills training directly related to employment;
(ii) Education directly related to employment for individuals who have not completed high school or received a high school equivalency certificate;
(iii) Satisfactory attendance at high school or in a course of study leading to a high school equivalency, for individuals who have not completed high school or received such equivalency certificate;
(iv) Job search and job readiness assistance consistent with federal TANF regulations.
(d) If any adult or caretaker relative refuses to participate in allowable work activity as required under this subsection (6), the following full family TANF benefit penalty will apply, subject to due process to include notification, conciliation and a hearing if requested by the recipient:
(i) For the first violation, the department shall terminate the TANF assistance otherwise payable to the family for a two-month period or until the person has complied with the required work activity, whichever is longer;
(ii) For the second violation, the department shall terminate the TANF assistance otherwise payable to the family for a six-month period or until the person has complied with the required work activity, whichever is longer;
(iii) For the third violation, the department shall terminate the TANF assistance otherwise payable to the family for a twelve-month period or until the person has complied with the required work activity, whichever is longer;
(iv) For the fourth violation, the person shall be permanently disqualified.
For a two-parent family, unless prohibited by state or federal law, Medicaid assistance shall be terminated only for the person whose failure to participate in allowable work activity caused the family's TANF assistance to be sanctioned under this subsection (6)(d), unless an individual is pregnant, but shall not be terminated for any other person in the family who is meeting that person's applicable work requirement or who is not required to work. Minor children shall continue to be eligible for Medicaid benefits regardless of the disqualification of their parent or caretaker relative for TANF assistance under this subsection (6), unless prohibited by state or federal law.
(e) Any person enrolled in a two-year or four-year college program who meets the eligibility requirements to receive TANF benefits, and who is meeting the applicable work requirements and all other applicable requirements of the TANF program, shall continue to be eligible for TANF benefits while enrolled in the college program for as long as the person meets the requirements of the TANF program, unless prohibited by federal law.
(f) No adult in a work activity required under this subsection (6) shall be employed or assigned (i) when any other individual is on layoff from the same or any substantially equivalent job within six (6) months before the date of the TANF recipient's employment or assignment; or (ii) if the employer has terminated the employment of any regular employee or otherwise caused an involuntary reduction of its work force in order to fill the vacancy so created with an adult receiving TANF assistance. The Mississippi Employment Security Commission, established under Section 71-5-101, shall appoint one or more impartial hearing officers to hear and decide claims by employees of violations of this paragraph (f). The hearing officer shall hear all the evidence with respect to any claim made hereunder and such additional evidence as he may require and shall make a determination and the reason therefor. The claimant shall be promptly notified of the decision of the hearing officer and the reason therefor. Within ten (10) days after the decision of the hearing officer has become final, any party aggrieved thereby may secure judicial review thereof by commencing an action, in the circuit court of the county in which the claimant resides, against the commission for the review of such decision, in which action any other party to the proceeding before the hearing officer shall be made a defendant. Any such appeal shall be on the record which shall be certified to the court by the commission in the manner provided in Section 71-5-531, and the jurisdiction of the court shall be confined to questions of law which shall render its decision as provided in that section.
(7) The Department of Human Services may provide child care for eligible participants who require such care so that they may accept employment or remain employed. The department may also provide child care for those participating in the TANF program when it is determined that they are satisfactorily involved in education, training or other allowable work activities. The department may contract with Head Start agencies to provide child care services to TANF recipients. The department may also arrange for child care by use of contract or vouchers, provide vouchers in advance to a caretaker relative, reimburse a child care provider, or use any other arrangement deemed appropriate by the department, and may establish different reimbursement rates for child care services depending on the category of the facility or home. Any center-based or group home child care facility under this paragraph shall be licensed by the State Department of Health pursuant to law. When child care is being provided in the child's own home, in the home of a relative of the child, or in any other unlicensed setting, the provision of such child care may be monitored on a random basis by the Department of Human services or the State Department of Health. Transitional child care assistance may be continued if it is necessary for parents to maintain employment once support has ended, unless prohibited under state or federal law. Transitional child care assistance may be provided for up to twenty-four (24) months after the last month during which the family was eligible for TANF assistance, if federal funds are available for such child care assistance.
(8) The Department of Human Services may provide transportation or provide reasonable reimbursement for transportation expenses that are necessary for individuals to be able to participate in allowable work activity under the TANF program.
(9) Medicaid assistance shall be provided to a family of TANF program participants for up to twenty-four (24) consecutive calendar months following the month in which the participating family would be ineligible for TANF benefits because of increased income, expiration of earned income disregards, or increased hours of employment of the caretaker relative; however, Medicaid assistance for more than twelve (12) months may be provided only if a federal waiver is obtained to provide such assistance for more than twelve (12) months and federal and state funds are available to provide such assistance.
(10) The department shall require applicants for and recipients of public assistance from the department to sign a personal responsibility contract that will require the applicant or recipient to acknowledge his or her responsibilities to the state.
(11) The department shall enter into an agreement with the State Personnel Board and other state agencies that will allow those TANF participants who qualify for vacant jobs within state agencies to be placed in state jobs. State agencies participating in the TANF work program shall receive any and all benefits received by employers in the private sector for hiring TANF recipients. This subsection (11) shall be effective only if the state obtains any necessary federal waiver or approval and if federal funds are available therefor.
(12) No new TANF program requirement or restriction affecting a person's eligibility for TANF assistance, or allowable work activity, which is not mandated by federal law or regulation may be implemented by the Department of Human Services after the effective date of this act, unless such is specifically authorized by an amendment to this section by the Legislature.
SECTION 4. Section 43-17-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-7. (1) The state department shall:
(a) Supervise the administration of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program under this chapter by the county departments;
(b) Make such rules and regulations and take such action as may be necessary or desirable for carrying out the provisions of this chapter. All rules and regulations made by the state department shall be binding on the counties and shall be complied with by the respective county departments;
* * *
(c) Prescribe the form of, and print and supply to the county departments such forms as it may deem necessary and advisable;
(d) Cooperate with the federal government in matters of mutual concern pertaining to the TANF program * * *;
(e) Make such reports in such form and containing such information as the federal government may from time to time require, and comply with such provisions as the federal government may from time to time find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports;
(f) Publish an annual report and such interim reports as may be necessary;
(g) Establish rules and regulations restricting the use or disclosure of information, records, papers, files and communications concerning applicants and recipients to purposes directly connected with the administration of the TANF program, in compliance with federal law;
(h) When the state agency has reason to believe that the home in which a relative and child receiving TANF assistance reside is unsuitable for the child because of the neglect, abuse or exploitation of such child, the state department shall bring such condition to the attention of the appropriate court or law enforcement agencies, and provide such data with respect to the situation as the department may have;
(i) As required by federal law, to provide for the development and implementation of a program under which the department will undertake, in the case of a child born out of wedlock who is receiving TANF assistance authorized herein, to establish the paternity of such child and secure support for him; and, in the case of any child receiving TANF assistance from the department who has been deserted or abandoned by his parent, to secure support for such child from such parent (or from any other person legally liable for such support), utilizing any reciprocal arrangements adopted with other states to obtain or enforce court orders for support;
(j) Provide for entering into cooperative arrangements with appropriate courts and law enforcement officials to assist the department in administering the program referred to in paragraph (i), including the entering into of financial arrangements with such courts and officials in order to assure optimum results under such program, and with respect to any other matters of common concern to such courts or officials in the department.
(2) The Department of Human Services shall include the following agencies currently providing services to TANF and food stamp recipients in any planning activities with respect thereto, and those agencies shall cooperate with the department and provide information as necessary in order to ensure the full utilization of all economic assistance programs: the State Department of Mental Health, the State Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Mississippi Department of Corrections, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the State Department of Public Safety, the Division of Medicaid, the State Department of Health and the State Department of Education.
SECTION 5. Section 43-17-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-9. The county departments shall:
(a) Administer the provisions of this chapter relating to the TANF program in the respective counties subject to the rules and regulations prescribed by the state department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
(b) Report to the state department at such times and in such manner and form as the state department may from time to time direct.
SECTION 6. Section 43-17-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-11. Application for TANF assistance under this chapter shall be made to the county department of the county in which the dependent child resides. The application shall be in writing or reduced to writing in the manner and upon the form prescribed by the state department. Such application shall be made by the person with whom the child is living and shall contain information as to the age and residence of the child and such other information as may be required by the rules and regulations of the state department. One (1) application may be made for several children of the same family if they reside with the same person.
SECTION 7. Section 43-17-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-13. Whenever a county department receives a notification of the dependency of a child or an application for TANF assistance, an investigation and record shall promptly be made of the circumstances in order to ascertain the dependency of the child and the facts supporting the application and in order to obtain such other information as may be required by the rules of the state department.
The investigation may include a visit to the home of the child and/or the person with whom the child will live during the time TANF assistance is granted.
SECTION 8. Section 43-17-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-15. Upon the completion of such investigation the county department shall decide whether the child is eligible for TANF assistance under the provisions of this chapter, and determine in accordance with the rules and regulations of the state department the amount of such assistance and the date on which such assistance shall begin. The county department shall notify the applicant of its decision.
SECTION 9. Section 43-17-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-17. If an application is not acted upon by the county department within a reasonable time, not to exceed thirty (30) days, after the filing of the application, or is denied in whole or in part, or if any award of TANF assistance is modified or cancelled under any provision of this chapter, the applicant or recipient may appeal to the state department in the manner and form prescribed by the state department. The state department shall, upon receipt of such an appeal, give the applicant or recipient reasonable notice and opportunity for a fair hearing. The state department may also, upon its own motion, review any decision of a county department, and may consider any application upon which a decision has not been made by the county department within a reasonable time. The state department may make such additional investigation as it may deem necessary, and shall make such decision as to the granting of TANF assistance and the amount of assistance to be granted as in its opinion is justified and in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. Applicants or recipients affected by such decisions of the state department shall, upon request, be given reasonable notice and opportunity for a fair hearing by the state department.
All decisions of the state department shall be final and shall be binding upon the county involved and shall be complied with by the county department.
SECTION 10. Section 43-17-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-19. All TANF assistance grants made under this chapter shall be reconsidered by the county department as frequently as may be required by the rules of the state department. After such further investigation as the county department may deem necessary or the state department may require, the amount of TANF assistance may be changed or TANF assistance may be entirely withdrawn if the state or county department finds that the child's circumstances have altered sufficiently to warrant such action.
SECTION 11. Section 43-17-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-21. Any child qualified for and receiving TANF assistance pursuant to the provisions of this chapter in any county in this state who moves or is taken to another county in this state shall be entitled to receive TANF assistance in the county to which he has moved or is taken and the county department of the county from which he has moved shall transfer all necessary records relating to the child to the county department of the county to which he has moved.
SECTION 12. Section 43-17-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-23. Federal and other funds shall be received, disposed of and disbursed in the same manner as is provided for the handling of funds * * * as is provided in Sections 43-9-33 through 43-9-37.
SECTION 13. Section 43-17-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-17-25. Whoever obtains, or attempts to obtain, or aids or abets any child to obtain by means of a willfully false statement or representation, or by impersonation or other fraudulent device:
(1) TANF assistance to which the child is not entitled; or
(2) TANF assistance greater than that to which he is justly entitled, shall be subject to the criminal penalties prescribed in Section 97-19-71.
SECTION 14. Section 9-5-255, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-5-255. (1) Except as provided by subsection (9) of this section, the senior chancellor of each chancery court district in the state may apply to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the appointment of one or more persons to serve as family masters in chancery in each of the counties or for all of the counties within the respective chancery court district if the senior chancellor states in writing that the chancery court district's docket is crowded enough to warrant an appointment of a family master. The Chief Justice shall determine from the information provided by the senior chancellor if the need exists for the appointment of a family master. If the Chief Justice determines that the need exists, a family master shall be appointed. If the Chief Justice determines that the need does not exist, no family master shall be appointed.
(2) Family masters in chancery shall have the power to hear cases and recommend orders establishing, modifying and enforcing orders for support in matters referred to them by chancellors and judges of the circuit, county or family courts of such county. The family master in chancery shall have jurisdiction over paternity matters brought pursuant to the Mississippi Uniform Law on Paternity and referred to them by chancellors and judges of the circuit, county or family courts of such county. As used in this section, "order for support" shall have the same meaning as such term is defined in Section 93-11-101.
(3) In all cases in which an order for support has been established and the person to whom the support obligation is owed is a nonrelated Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) family on whose behalf the Department of Human Services is providing services, the family master in chancery or any other judge or court of competent jurisdiction shall, upon proper pleading by the department and upon appropriate proceedings conducted thereon, order that the department may recover and that the obligor shall be liable for reasonable attorney's fees and court costs which the department incurs in enforcing and collecting amounts of support obligation which exceed administrative fees collected and current support owed by the obligor.
(4) Persons appointed as family masters in chancery pursuant to this section shall meet and possess all of the qualifications required of chancery and circuit court judges of this state, shall remain in office at the pleasure of the appointing chancellor, and shall receive reasonable compensation for services rendered by them, as fixed by law, or allowed by the court. Family masters in chancery shall be paid out of any available funds budgeted by the board of supervisors of the county in which they serve; provided, however, in the event that a family master in chancery is appointed to serve in more than one county within a chancery court district, then the compensation and expenses of such master shall be equally apportioned among and paid by each of the counties in which such master serves. The chancery clerk shall issue to such persons a certificate of appointment.
(5) Family masters in chancery shall have power to administer oaths, to take the examination of witnesses in cases referred to them, to examine and report upon all matters referred to them, and they shall have all the powers in cases referred to them properly belonging to masters or commissioners in chancery according to the practice of equity courts as heretofore exercised.
(6) Family masters in chancery shall have power to issue subpoenas for witnesses to attend before them to testify in any matter referred to them or generally in the cause, and the subpoenas shall be executed in like manner as subpoenas issued by the clerk of the court. If any witness shall fail to appear, the master shall proceed by process of attachment to compel the witness to attend and give evidence.
(7) Family masters in chancery are authorized and empowered to conduct original hearings on matters in such county referred to such masters by any chancellor or judge of such county.
(8) In all cases heard by masters pursuant to this section, such masters shall make a written report to the chancellor or judge who refers the case to him. Such chancellor or judge may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made and reported by the master, and may recommit the matter to the master with instructions. In all cases referred to such master, initialing for approval by the master of a proposed decree shall be sufficient to constitute the master's report.
(9) Any chancellor required by this section to appoint a person or persons to serve as family masters in chancery may forego the requirement to appoint such masters or if family masters have been appointed, such chancellor may terminate such appointments and leave such positions vacant, only if an exemption from the United States Department of Health and Human Services is obtained for the county or counties involved. Such positions may remain vacant for as long as such exemption remains in effect.
SECTION 15. Section 43-1-2, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-1-2. (1) There is created the Mississippi Department of Human Services, whose offices shall be located in Jackson, Mississippi, and which shall be under the policy direction of the Governor.
(2) The chief administrative officer of the department shall be the Executive Director of Human Services. The Governor shall appoint the Executive Director of Human Services with the advice and consent of the Senate, and he shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor, and until his successor is appointed and qualified. The Executive Director of Human Services shall possess the following qualifications:
(a) A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and ten (10) years' experience in management, public administration, finance or accounting; or
(b) A master's or doctoral degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and five (5) years' experience in management, public administration, finance or accounting.
Those qualifications shall be certified by the State Personnel Board.
(3) There shall be a Joint Oversight Committee of the Department of Human Services composed of the respective chairmen of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the House Public Health and Welfare Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, two (2) members of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to serve at the will and pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor, and two (2) members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House to serve at the will and pleasure of the Speaker. The chairmanship of the committee shall alternate for twelve-month periods between the Senate members and the House members, with the Chairman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee serving as the first chairman. The committee shall meet once each month, or upon the call of the chairman at such times as he deems necessary or advisable, and may make recommendations to the Legislature pertaining to any matter within the jurisdiction of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The appointing authorities may designate an alternate member from their respective houses to serve when the regular designee is unable to attend such meetings of the oversight committee. For attending meetings of the oversight committee, such legislators shall receive per diem and expenses which shall be paid from the contingent expense funds of their respective houses in the same amounts as provided for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session; however, no per diem and expenses for attending meetings of the committee will be paid while the Legislature is in session. No per diem and expenses will be paid except for attending meetings of the oversight committee without prior approval of the proper committee in their respective houses.
(4) The State Department of Human Services shall provide the services authorized by law to every individual determined to be eligible therefor, and in carrying out the purposes of the department, the executive director is authorized:
(a) To formulate the policy of the department regarding human services within the jurisdiction of the department;
(b) To adopt, modify, repeal and promulgate, after due notice and hearing, and where not otherwise prohibited by federal or state law, to make exceptions to and grant exemptions and variances from, and to enforce rules and regulations implementing or effectuating the powers and duties of the department under any and all statutes within the department's jurisdiction, all of which shall be binding upon the county departments of human services;
(c) To apply for, receive and expend any federal or state funds or contributions, gifts, devises, bequests or funds from any other source;
(d) Except as limited by Section 43-1-3, to enter into and execute contracts, grants and cooperative agreements with any federal or state agency or subdivision thereof, or any public or private institution located inside or outside the State of Mississippi, or any person, corporation or association in connection with carrying out the programs of the department; and
(e) To discharge such other duties, responsibilities and powers as are necessary to implement the programs of the department. * * *
(5) The executive director shall establish the organizational structure of the Mississippi Department of Human Services which shall include the creation of any units necessary to implement the duties assigned to the department and consistent with specific requirements of law, including but not limited to:
(a) Office of Family and Children's Services;
(b) Office of Youth Services;
(c) Office of Economic Assistance;
(d) Office of Child Support * * *.
(6) The Executive Director of Human Services shall appoint heads of offices, bureaus and divisions, as defined in Section 7-17-11, who shall serve at the pleasure of the executive director. The salary and compensation of such office, bureau and division heads shall be subject to the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Personnel Board as created under Section 25-9-101 et seq. The executive director shall have the authority to organize offices as deemed appropriate to carry out the responsibilities of the department. The organization charts of the department shall be presented annually with the budget request of the Governor for review by the Legislature.
(7) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2001.
SECTION 16. Section 43-1-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-1-19. (1) The records of the disbursement of funds or payments to recipients of any and all assistance under programs administered by the state or county departments of human services showing the names of the recipients and the amount of the individual assistance checks shall only be disclosed pursuant to federal regulations regarding disclosure of information for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamp Act programs, and federal laws regarding use of electronically exchanged data.
(2) Any person, firm, corporation, association of agency who or which shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than ninety (90) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
SECTION 17. Section 43-27-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-27-33. Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit or restrict the operation and effect of Title IV, federal Social Security Act (Subchapter IV, Sections 601-604, Chapter 7, Title 42, U.S. Code Annotated) and Sections 43-15-1 through 43-15-9, inclusive, 43-17-1 through 43-17-25, inclusive, 43-25-1 through 43-25-17, inclusive, and 93-11-1 through 93-11-63, inclusive, Mississippi Code of 1972, which authorize the Department of Human Services to expend appropriated state and available federal funds for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) child welfare services, and administer the interstate compact on juveniles under approved state-federal plans now in effect; this chapter being cumulative and supplementary. Nothing in this chapter is intended to limit or restrain the operation and effect of the Youth Court Law of 1946, as amended (Chapter 21 of this Title), or the Family Court Law of 1964, as amended (Chapter 23 of this Title), or the power granted to the youth courts or family courts therein outlined. The intent of this section is to insure that the final responsibility for a delinquent youth resides with the court that has jurisdiction and that the final responsibility for any and all services provided by any and all personnel assigned to a youth or family court resides with the responsible judge.
SECTION 18. Section 93-9-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-35. (1) If a mother of a natural child be possessed of property and shall fail to support and educate her child, the court having jurisdiction, on the application of the guardian or next friend of the child or, if the child shall receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits or other financial assistance, of the county human services agent or youth counselor, may examine into the matter and after a hearing may make an order charging the mother with the payment of money weekly or otherwise for the support and education of the child.
(2) The court may require the mother to give security, by bond or other security, with sufficient sureties approved by the court, for the payment of the order. In default of such security, when required, the court may commit her to jail, or put her on probation. At any time within one (1) year she may be discharged from jail, but her liability to pay the judgment shall not be thereby affected.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to relieve the father from liability for support and education of the child in accordance with the provisions of Sections 93-9-1 through 93-9-49.
SECTION 19. Section 43-1-28, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-1-28. (1) The Department of Human Services shall develop an on-line electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system for the food stamp program in Mississippi as an alternative to issuing food stamp coupons. The EBT system developed by the department under this section shall (a) provide that food stamp benefits are stored in and issued from a central computer data base and are electronically accessed by households at the point of sale through the use of reusable magnetic-stripe plastic cards; and (b) meet all requirements and standards specified in 7 USCS Section 2016(i) and the rules and regulations issued under that provision for approval by the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
(2) The department shall finish development of the EBT system no later than October 1, 1999, and shall submit an application to the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture for approval of the system. After the EBT system has been approved, the department shall implement and operate the system as a pilot project in not less than five (5) counties selected by the department, which counties shall represent the different geographical areas, population levels and economic levels of the state. After the pilot project has been evaluated and approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, and subject to the availability of funds specifically appropriated therefor, the system may be expanded statewide at a rate determined by the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services. The system shall be expanded and implemented statewide not later than October 1, 1999.
(3) The department shall seek to obtain the maximum amount of federal financial participation available to fund the cost of administering the EBT system.
(4) The Department of Human Services may develop an on-line electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Mississippi as an alternative to issuing cash or voucher payments. The EBT system developed by the department under this section shall (a) provide that TANF benefits are stored in and issued from a central computer data base and are electronically accessed; and (b) meet all requirements and standards specified in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193), and the rules and regulations issued under that act. The department shall seek to obtain the maximum amount of federal financial participation available to fund the cost of administering the EBT system for TANF payments.
SECTION 20. Section 43-1-30, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-1-30. (1) There is hereby created the Mississippi TANF Implementation Council. It shall serve as the independent, single state advisory and review council for assuring Mississippi's compliance with the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193), as amended. The council shall further cooperation between government, education and the private sector in meeting the needs of the TANF program. It shall also further cooperation between the business and labor communities, education and training delivery systems, and between businesses in developing highly skilled workers for high skill, high paying jobs in Mississippi.
(2) The council shall be comprised of thirteen (13) public members and certain * * * ex officio nonvoting members. All public members of the council shall be appointed as follows by the Governor:
Ten (10) members shall be representatives from business and industry, provided that no fewer than five (5) members are from the manufacturing and industry sector who are also serving as members of private industry councils established within the state, and one (1) member may be a representative of a nonprofit organization. Three (3) members shall be recipients or former recipients of TANF assistance appointed from the state at large. The ex officio nonvoting members of the council shall consist of the following, or their designees:
(a) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services;
(b) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission;
(c) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development;
(d) The State Superintendent of Education;
(e) The Director of the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges; * * *
(f) The Executive Director of the Division of Medicaid;
(g) The Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections; and
(h) The Director of the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service.
(3) The Governor shall designate one (1) public member to serve as chairman of the council for a term of two (2) years and until a successor as chairman is appointed and qualified.
(4) The term of office for public members appointed by the Governor shall be four (4) years and until their successors are appointed and qualified.
(5) Any vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Governor in the manner of the original appointment, unless otherwise specified in this section.
(6) Public members shall receive a per diem as authorized in Section 25-3-69, for each day actually engaged in meetings of the council, and shall be reimbursed for mileage and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, as provided in Section 25-3-41.
(7) The council shall:
(a) Annually review and recommend policies and programs to the Governor and the Legislature that will implement and meet federal requirements under the TANF program * * *.
(b) Annually review and recommend policies and programs to the Governor and to the Legislature that will enable citizens of Mississippi to acquire the skills necessary to maximize their economic self-sufficiency.
(c) Review the provision of services and the use of funds and resources under the TANF program, and under all state-financed job training and job retraining programs, and advise the Governor and the Legislature on methods of coordinating such provision of services and use of funds and resources consistent with the laws and regulations governing such programs.
(d) Assist in developing outcome and output measures to measure the success of the Department of Human Services' efforts in implementing the TANF program. These recommendations shall be made to the Department of Human Services at such times as required in the event that the department implements new programs to comply with the TANF program requirements.
(e) Collaborate with the Department of Economic and Community development, local planning and development districts and local industrial development boards, and shall develop an economic development plan for the creation of manufacturing jobs in each of the counties in the state that has an unemployment rate of ten percent (10%) or more, which shall include, but not be limited to, procedures for business development, entrepreneurship and financial and technical assistance.
(8) A majority of the members of the council shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of meetings and all actions of the council shall be by a majority of the members present at a meeting.
(9) The council shall adopt rules and regulations as it deems necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this section and under applicable federal human resources programs.
(10) The council may make and enter into contracts and interagency agreements as may be necessary and proper.
(11) The council is authorized to commit and expend monies appropriated to it by the Legislature for its authorized purposes. The council is authorized to solicit, accept and expend public and private gifts, grants, awards and contributions related to furtherance of its statutory duties.
(12) Funds for the operations of the council shall be derived from federal funds for the operation of state councils pursuant to applicable federal human resources programs and from such other monies appropriated to it by the Legislature.
SECTION 21. (1) The Department of Human Services may establish family resource centers to help families who are receiving or are eligible to receive assistance from government agencies to facilitate their access to services and resources that will lead to increased family independence.
(2) The department shall carry out an intense public information campaign to inform low-income workers, and especially public assistance recipients, of the availability of and application rules for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), in order to maximize the refund of federal income tax withheld from those persons. The information campaign shall include publishing and circulating bulletins or notices to recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and other public assistance that publicize and explain the EITC and the criteria for family eligibility for the EITC. The department also shall carry out an intense information campaign to inform employers of the availability of and the criteria for eligibility for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which offers employers a credit against their federal tax liability for hiring people from certain target groups, including TANF recipients, and to inform employers of the availability of and the criteria for eligibility for the state income tax credit for employers who hire persons receiving TANF benefits as authorized under Section 27-7-22.1.
(3) The department shall establish and maintain a statewide incoming wide area telephone service hot line for the purpose of reporting suspected cases of welfare eligibility fraud, food stamp fraud and Medicaid fraud. The department is authorized, subject to the extent of appropriations available, to offer financial incentives to individuals for reporting such suspected cases of public assistance fraud.
(4) Any applicant for or recipient of TANF benefits or Food Stamps shall be required to agree that, as a condition of eligibility for those benefits, the person will cooperate with the department in determining paternity for the purposes of enforcing child support obligations. The department shall utilize methods and procedures provided for by state or federal law in determining paternity and enforcing child support obligations.
SECTION 22. Section 27-7-22.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-7-22.1. (1) For any employer who employs a person who was receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance at the time the employer hired such person, a credit against the taxes imposed pursuant to this chapter shall be allowed for the wages paid to such person in the following amounts:
(a) If such person is compensated at Four Dollars ($4.00) or more above the hourly rate of the federal minimum wage, the employer shall receive a credit in the amount of forty percent (40%) of the first Five Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($5,200.00) in wages paid annually to such person.
(b) If such person is compensated at less than Four Dollars ($4.00) but more than Three Dollars ($3.00) above the hourly rate of the federal minimum wage, the employer shall receive a credit in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the first Five Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($5,200.00) in wages paid annually to such person.
(c) If such person is compensated at Three Dollars ($3.00) or less above the hourly rate of the federal minimum wage, the employer shall receive a credit in the amount of twenty percent (20%) of the first Five Thousand Two Hundred Dollars ($5,200.00) in wages paid annually to such person.
(2) No credit shall be claimed for wages paid to any person for more than thirty-six (36) months, regardless of the number of employers who employ such person.
(3) An employer shall not receive the credit provided for in this section if such employer dismisses an employee to create a position for a TANF recipient.
(4) The tax credit allowed by this section shall not exceed the amount of taxes due the State of Mississippi. Any amount allowable as a credit pursuant to this section that exceeds the employer's tax liability shall not be refundable or carried forward to any other taxable year.
(5) The tax credit authorized in this section shall apply only in cases in which the person whose wages are used to calculate the credit was hired after July 1, 1993.
(6) This section shall stand repealed from and after January 1, 1999.
SECTION 23. Section 43-13-115, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-13-115. Recipients of medical assistance shall be the following persons only:
(1) Who are qualified for public assistance grants under provisions of Title IV-A and E of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, including those statutorily deemed to be IV-A as determined by the State Department of Human Services and certified to the Division of Medicaid, but not optional groups unless otherwise specifically covered in this section. For the purposes of this paragraph (1) and paragraphs (3), (4), (8), (14), (17) and (18) of this section, any reference to Title IV-A or to Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, or the state plan under Title IV-A or Part A of Title IV, shall be considered as a reference to Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and the state plan under Title IV-A, including the income and resource standards and methodologies under Title IV-A and the state plan, as they existed on July 16, 1996.
(2) Those qualified for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits under Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act, as amended. The eligibility of individuals covered in this paragraph shall be determined by the Social Security Administration and certified to the Division of Medicaid.
(3) Qualified pregnant women as defined in Section 1905(n) of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and as determined to be eligible by the State Department of Human Services and certified to the Division of Medicaid, who:
(a) Would be eligible for assistance under Part A of Title IV (or would be eligible for such assistance if coverage under the state plan under Part A of Title IV included assistance * * * pursuant to Section 407 of Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act, as amended) if her child had been born and was living with her in the month such assistance would be paid, and such pregnancy has been medically verified; or
(b) Is a member of a family which would be eligible for assistance under the state plan under Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, pursuant to Section 407 if the plan required the payment of assistance pursuant to such section.
(4) Qualified children who are under five (5) years of age, who were born after September 30, 1983, and who meet the income and resource requirements of the state plan under Part A of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended. The eligibility of individuals covered in this paragraph shall be determined by the State Department of Human Services and certified to the Division of Medicaid.
(5) A child born on or after October 1, 1984, to a woman eligible for and receiving medical assistance under the state plan on the date of the child's birth shall be deemed to have applied for medical assistance and to have been found eligible for such assistance under such plan on the date of such birth and will remain eligible for such assistance for a period of one (1) year so long as the child is a member of the woman's household and the woman remains eligible for such assistance or would be eligible for assistance if pregnant. The eligibility of individuals covered in this paragraph shall be determined by the State Department of Human Services and certified to the Division of Medicaid.
(6) Children certified by the State Department of Human Services to the Division of Medicaid of whom the state and county human services agency has custody and financial responsibility, and children who are in adoptions subsidized in full or part by the Department of Human Services, who are approvable under Title XIX of the Medicaid program.
(7) (a) Persons certified by the Division of Medicaid who are patients in a medical facility (nursing home, hospital, tuberculosis sanatorium or institution for treatment of mental diseases), and who, except for the fact that they are patients in such medical facility, would qualify for grants under Title IV, supplementary security income benefits under Title XVI or state supplements, and those aged, blind and disabled persons who would not be eligible for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI or state supplements if they were not institutionalized in a medical facility but whose income is below the maximum standard set by the Division of Medicaid, which standard shall not exceed that prescribed by federal regulation;
(b) Individuals who have elected to receive hospice care benefits and who are eligible using the same criteria and special income limits as those in institutions as described in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph (7).
(8) Children under eighteen (18) years of age and pregnant women (including those in intact families) who meet the financial standards of the state plan approved under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act, as amended. The eligibility of children covered under this paragraph shall be determined by the State Department of Human Services and certified to the Division of Medicaid.
(9) Individuals who are:
(a) Children born after September 30, 1983, who have not attained the age of nineteen (19), with family income that does not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the nonfarm official poverty line;
(b) Pregnant women, infants and children who have not attained the age of six (6), with family income that does not exceed one hundred thirty-three percent (133%) of the federal poverty level; and
(c) Pregnant women and infants who have not attained the age of one (1), with family income that does not exceed one hundred eighty-five percent (185%) of the federal poverty level.
The eligibility of individuals covered in (a), (b) and (c) of this paragraph shall be determined by the Department of Human Services.
(10) Certain disabled children age eighteen (18) or under who are living at home, who would be eligible, if in a medical institution, for SSI or a state supplemental payment under Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and therefore for Medicaid under the plan, and for whom the state has made a determination as required under Section 1902(e)(3)(b) of the federal Social Security Act, as amended. The eligibility of individuals under this paragraph shall be determined by the Division of Medicaid.
(11) Individuals who are sixty-five (65) years of age or older or are disabled as determined under Section 1614(a)(3) of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and who meet the following criteria:
(a) Whose income does not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the nonfarm official poverty line as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually.
(b) Whose resources do not exceed those allowed under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
The eligibility of individuals covered under this paragraph shall be determined by the Division of Medicaid, and such individuals determined eligible shall receive the same Medicaid services as other categorical eligible individuals.
(12) Individuals who are qualified Medicare beneficiaries (QMB) entitled to Part A Medicare as defined under Section 301, Public Law 100-360, known as the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, and who meet the following criteria:
(a) Whose income does not exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the nonfarm official poverty line as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually.
(b) Whose resources do not exceed two hundred percent (200%) of the amount allowed under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program as more fully prescribed under Section 301, Public Law 100-360.
The eligibility of individuals covered under this paragraph shall be determined by the Division of Medicaid, and such individuals determined eligible shall receive Medicare cost-sharing expenses only as more fully defined by the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988.
(13) Individuals who are entitled to Medicare Part B as defined in Section 4501 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, and who meet the following criteria:
(a) Whose income does not exceed the percentage of the nonfarm official poverty line as defined by the Office of Management and Budget and revised annually which, on or after:
(i) January 1, 1993, is one hundred ten percent (110%); and
(ii) January 1, 1995, is one hundred twenty percent (120%).
(b) Whose resources do not exceed two hundred percent (200%) of the amount allowed under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program as described in Section 301 of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988.
The eligibility of individuals covered under this paragraph shall be determined by the Division of Medicaid, and such individuals determined eligible shall receive Medicare cost sharing.
(14) * * * Individuals in families who would be eligible for the unemployed parent program under Section 407 of Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act, as amended but do not receive payments pursuant to that section. The eligibility of individuals covered in this paragraph shall be determined by the Department of Human Services.
(15) Disabled workers who are eligible to enroll in Part A Medicare as required by Public Law 101-239, known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989, and whose income does not exceed two hundred percent (200%) of the federal poverty level as determined in accordance with the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The eligibility of individuals covered under this paragraph shall be determined by the Division of Medicaid and such individuals shall be entitled to buy-in coverage of Medicare Part A premiums only under the provisions of this paragraph (15).
(16) In accordance with the terms and conditions of approved Title XIX waiver from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, persons provided home- and community-based services who are physically disabled and certified by the Division of Medicaid as eligible due to applying the income and deeming requirements as if they were institutionalized.
(17) In accordance with the terms of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193), persons who become ineligible for assistance under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act, as amended because of increased income from or hours of employment of the caretaker relative or because of the expiration of the applicable earned income disregards, who were eligible for Medicaid for at least three (3) of the six (6) months preceding the month in which such ineligibility begins, shall be eligible for Medicaid assistance for up to twenty-four (24) months; however, Medicaid assistance for more than twelve (12) months may be provided only if a federal waiver is obtained to provide such assistance for more than twelve (12) months and federal and state funds are available to provide such assistance.
(18) Persons who become ineligible for assistance under Title IV-A of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, as a result, in whole or in part, of the collection or increased collection of child or spousal support under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, who were eligible for Medicaid for at least three (3) of the six (6) months immediately preceding the month in which such ineligibility begins, shall be eligible for Medicaid for an additional four (4) months beginning with the month in which such ineligibility begins.
SECTION 24. (1) In the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193), the United States Congress made the following findings relating to out-of-wedlock pregnancies:
(a) The increase of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births is well documented.
(b) An effective strategy to combat teenage pregnancy must address the issue of male responsibility, including statutory rape culpability and prevention. The increase of teenage pregnancies among the youngest girls is particularly severe and is linked to predatory sexual practices by men who are significantly older.
(c) The negative consequences of an out-of-wedlock birth on the mother, the child, the family and society are well documented.
(d) Currently thirty-five percent (35%) of children in single-parent homes are born out of wedlock, nearly the same percentage as that of children in single-parent homes whose parents are divorced. While many parents find themselves, through divorce or tragic circumstances beyond their control, facing the difficult task of raising children alone, nevertheless, the negative consequences of raising children in single-parent homes are well documented.
(e) Therefore, in light of this demonstration of the crisis in our nation, it is the sense of the Congress that prevention of out-of-wedlock birth are very important government interests and the policy contained in this legislation is intended to address the crisis.
(2) The Department of Human Services shall establish a task force in compliance with Public Law 104-193, consisting of public and private organizations and individuals to review the incidence and circumstances of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi. Based on these findings, goals will be established by the task force and a specific program will be recommended to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi, as well as the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the program, with special emphasis on teenage pregnancies. The task force will establish numerical goals for reducing the illegitimacy ratio of the state as defined by federal law through calendar year 2005. The task force shall publish its findings and recommendations with any proposed legislation in a report to the Governor and the Legislature to be made on or before January 1, 1998.
SECTION 25. The Department of Human Services shall seek federal funds for entrepreneurial development so that recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits can create jobs and provide incentives for TANF recipients in their efforts to attain self-sufficiency and independence. The TANF Implementation Council shall identify opportunities for entrepreneurial development for TANF recipients. In carrying out this program, the department shall work in conjunction with public, community and private sector entities including businesses, banks, and other institutions to develop strategies that provide training, technical assistance, planning, and research to TANF recipients in their efforts to own their own businesses. The TANF recipient must be enrolled in an allowable work activity to be considered for eligibility for the funds under this section.
SECTION 26. Section 41-79-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-79-5. (1) There is hereby established within the State Department of Health a school nurse intervention program, available to all public school districts in the state.
(2) By the school year 1998-1999, each public school district shall have employed a school nurse, to be known as a Health Service Coordinator, pursuant to the school nurse intervention program prescribed under this section. The school nurse intervention program shall offer any of the following specific preventive services, and other additional services appropriate to each grade level and the age and maturity of the pupils:
(a) Reproductive health education and referral to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, which education shall include abstinence;
(b) Child abuse and neglect identification;
(c) Hearing and vision screening to detect problems which can lead to serious sensory losses and behavioral and academic problems;
(d) Alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse education to reduce abuse of these substances;
(e) Scoliosis screening to detect this condition so that costly and painful surgery and lifelong disability can be prevented;
(f) Coordination of services for handicapped children to ensure that these children receive appropriate medical assistance and are able to remain in public school;
(g) Nutrition education and counseling to prevent obesity and/or other eating disorders which may lead to life-threatening conditions, for example, hypertension;
(h) Early detection and treatment of head lice to prevent the spread of the parasite and to reduce absenteeism;
(i) Emergency treatment of injury and illness to include controlling bleeding, managing fractures, bruises or contusions and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);
(j) Applying appropriate theory as the basis for decision making in nursing practice;
(k) Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive school health program;
(l) Developing individualized health plans;
(m) Assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating programs and other school health activities, in collaboration with other professionals;
(n) Providing health education to assist students, families and groups to achieve optimal levels of wellness;
(o) Participating in peer review and other means of evaluation to assure quality of nursing care provided for students and assuming responsibility for continuing education and professional development for self while contributing to the professional growth of others;
(p) Participating with other key members of the community responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating school health services and community services that include the broad continuum or promotion of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention; and
(q) Contributing to nursing and school health through innovations in theory and practice and participation in research.
(3) Public school nurses shall be specifically prohibited from providing abortion counseling to any student or referring any student to abortion counseling or abortion clinics. Any violation of this subsection shall disqualify the school district employing such public school nurse from receiving any state administered funds under this section.
(4) Each local school district of this state may apply for a school nurse intervention program. State administered funds shall only be available on a 50-50 matching basis, and subject to appropriation by the Legislature, with the local school district providing its local contribution from nonminimum program funds. However, school districts with an ad valorem assessed value per student of less than Seventeen Thousand Dollars ($17,000.00), according to the most recent ad valorem assessed valuation, shall not be required to make a local contribution to the cost of the program. In order to be eligible for such program, each district desiring to participate shall apply to the State Department of Health by May 31 before the beginning of the applicable fiscal year. Such applications shall be on forms provided by the State Department of Health. The local school governing board and the county health department shall mutually determine their school nurse intervention program within the previously determined state guidelines. The State Department of Health shall determine by July 1 of each succeeding year which local school districts have submitted approved applications for school nurse intervention programs. This subsection (4) shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 1999.
(5) Beginning with the 1997-1998 school year, to the extent that federal or state funds are available therefor and pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, in addition to the school nurse intervention program funds administered under subsection (4), the State Department of Health shall establish and implement a Prevention of Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program to be located in the public school districts with the highest numbers of teen pregnancies. The Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program shall provide the following education services directly through public school nurses in the pilot school districts: health education sessions in local schools, where contracted for or invited to provide, which target issues including reproductive health, teen pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, HIV and AIDS. When these services are provided by a school nurse, training and counseling on abstinence shall be included.
(6) In addition to the school nurse intervention program funds administered under subsection (4) and the Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program funds administered under subsection (5), to the extent that federal or state funds are available therefor and pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, the State Department of Health shall establish and implement an Abstinence Education Pilot Program to provide abstinence education, mentoring, counseling and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity, with a focus on those groups which are most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock. Such abstinence education services shall be provided by the State Department of Health through its clinics, public health nurses, school nurses and through contracts with rural and community health centers in order to reach a larger number of targeted clients. For purposes of this subsection, the term "abstinence education" means an educational or motivational program which:
(a) Has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;
(b) Teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children;
(c) Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and other associated health problems;
(d) Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;
(e) Teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;
(f) Teaches that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents and society;
(g) Teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability to sexual advances; and
(h) Teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.
(7) Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year and pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, in addition to other funds allotted under the minimum education program, each school district shall be allotted an additional teacher unit per every one hundred (100) teacher units, for the purpose of employing qualified public school nurses in such school district, which in no event shall be less than one (1) teacher unit per school district, for such purpose. In the event the Legislature provides less funds than the total state funds needed for the public school nurse allotment, those school districts with fewer teacher units shall be the first funded for such purpose, to the extent of funds available.
(8) Prior to the 1998-1999 school year, nursing staff assigned to the program shall be employed through the local county health department and shall be subject to the supervision of the State Department of Health with input from local school officials. Local county health departments may contract with any comprehensive private primary health care facilities within their county to employ and utilize additional nursing staff. Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year, nursing staff assigned to the program shall be employed by the local school district and shall be designated as "health service coordinators," and shall be required to possess a bachelor's degree in nursing as a minimum qualification.
(9) Upon each student's enrollment, the parent or guardian shall be provided with information regarding the scope of the school nurse intervention program. The parent or guardian may provide the school administration with a written statement refusing all or any part of the nursing service. No child shall be required to undergo hearing and vision or scoliosis screening or any other physical examination or tests whose parent objects thereto on the grounds such screening, physical examination or tests are contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs.
(10) A consent form for reproductive health education shall be sent to the parent or guardian of each student upon his enrollment. If a response from the parent or guardian is not received within seven (7) days after the consent form is sent, the school shall send a letter to the student's home notifying the parent or guardian of the consent form. If the parent or guardian fails to respond to the letter within ten (10) days after it is sent, then the school principal shall be authorized to allow the student to receive reproductive health education. Reproductive health education shall include the teaching of total abstinence from premarital sex and, wherever practicable, reproductive health education should be taught in classes divided according to gender. All materials used in the reproductive health education program shall be placed in a convenient and easily accessible location for parental inspection. School nurses shall not dispense birth control pills or contraceptive devices in the school. Dispensing of such shall be the responsibility of the State Department of Health on a referral basis only.
(11) No provision of this section shall be construed as prohibiting local school districts from accepting financial assistance of any type from the State of Mississippi or any other governmental entity, or any contribution, donation, gift, decree or bequest from any source which may be utilized for the maintenance or implementation of a school nurse intervention program in a public school system of this state.
SECTION 27. Sections 43-49-1, 43-49-3, 43-49-8, 43-49-9, 43-49-11, 43-49-13, 43-49-15 and 43-17-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, which is the Mississippi Welfare Program Restructuring Act of 1993, and which provide for the implementation of required welfare reform components of the federal Family Support Act of 1988 and the federal Job Opportunity and Basic Skills (JOBS) Training Program, provide conditions for eligibility for AFDC benefits and prescribe certain duties of the Department of Human Services, provide for a Work Encouragement Program under applicable federal waivers, provide for a Work First pilot program under applicable federal waivers, require the department to prepare waiver requests for the welfare reform programs, authorize the department to request additional waivers regarding welfare reform and direct the department to establish an AFDC unemployed parents program, are repealed.
SECTION 28. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.