2007 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Human Services
By: Representative Dickson, Fleming
AN ACT TO CREATE A STUDY COMMISSION ON THE TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) PROGRAM; TO REQUIRE A REPORT TO THE 2008 REGULAR SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE; TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE STATE PROGRAM'S PROGRESS OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is created a Study Commission on the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program, to establish measurable health goals for the State of Mississippi. The commission shall make recommendations on all aspects of the state program's progress over the past ten (10) years. The commission shall, at a minimum, study and report to the 2008 Regular Session of the Legislature on the following:
(a) The outcome of state welfare programs for the last ten (10) years.
(b) The economic climate, in terms of looking for savings in state welfare programs.
(c) The economy's potential to increase the number of welfare recipients/participants, as well as increasing expenditures in such areas as child care, which are necessary to keep recipients in the workforce.
(d) Mississippi's struggle to resolve the issue of long-term clients.
(e) The state's role in aiding those in need of help with substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence and learning disabilities.
(f) The state's ability to continue the innovative programs that have been established in recent years, including:
(i) Educational after school programs;
(ii) Early childhood development programs; and
(iii) Teen pregnancy programs.
(g) Viability of programs to last based upon the state's economy and wealth.
(h) The state's flexibility in using the TANF block grant by meeting the federal work mandates complying with the five (5) year time limit on benefits.
(i) Families' ability to move toward self-sufficiency.
(j) The outlook for welfare parents that have found work at the entry level jobs.
(k) Parents' inability to support their families.
(l) Means of increasing work participation among recipients of TANF benefits.
(m) Making welfare work on a fixed budget.
The commission shall make a report of its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2007, including any recommended legislation.
(2) The commission shall be composed of the following fourteen (14) members:
(a) The Chairmen of the Senate and House Appropriation Committees;
(b) The Chairmen of the Senate and House Public Health and Welfare (Human Services) Committees;
(c) One (1) Senator to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;
(d) One (1) Representative to be appointed by the Speaker of the House;
(e) One (1) member of the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges;
(f) The Executive Director of the State Department of Health, or his designee;
(g) One (1) member from the Department of Human Services' Division of Foster Care;
(h) The Executive Director of the Department of Rehabilitative Services, or his designee;
(i) The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, or his designee;
(j) The Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health, or his designee; and
(k) Two (2) recipients of TANF benefits.
(3) Appointments shall be made within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this act. The commission shall hold its first meeting before August 1, 2007. The Chairmen of the Senate and House Public Health and Welfare (Human Services) Committees shall serve as co-chairmen of the commission.
(4) A majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum. In the adoption of rules, resolutions and reports, an affirmative vote of a majority of the members shall be required. All members shall be notified in writing of all meetings, such notices to be mailed at least five (5) days before the date on which a meeting is to be held.
(5) Members of the commission shall receive the customary per diem compensation, expense reimbursement and mileage for attending commission meetings as provided in sections 25-3-41 and 25-3-69.
(6) The commission is authorized to accept funds from any source, public or private, to be expended in implementing its duties under this section
(7) To effectuate the purposes of this section, any department, division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof, shall, at the request of the co-chairmen of the commission, provide such facilities, assistance and data as will enable the commission to properly carry out its duties.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.