Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                     , 1999

                                   RE:  S.B. No. 171
                                        S.D. 1

Honorable Norman Mizuguchi
President of the Senate
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Health and Human Services, to which was
referred S.B. No. 171 entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:

     The purpose of this measure is to allow the Department of
Human Services (DHS) to retain any appropriation for general
assistance to households without minor dependents at the close of
each fiscal year, to delete the 1993 federal income poverty
level, and to require the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) to
conduct a study of general assistance.

     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure
from DHS, Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, Legal
Aid Society of Hawaii, American Friends Service Committee, Na
Loio, National Association of Social Workers, Affordable Housing
and Homeless Alliance, and six private citizens.  The Department
of Budget and Finance submitted testimony in opposition.

     Your Committee believes that allowing the DHS to retain
unexpended general assistance funds at the close of each fiscal
year is necessary to facilitate adequate funding of general
assistance from year to year.  Provisions are included in the
measure that the retained funds shall not be used for any other
purpose and shall not diminish future appropriations.

     Your Committee further finds that the appropriations
contained in the measure are for bona fide and meritorious

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programs that can bring relief to welfare recipients.
Projections based on existing data suggest that investments in
programs such as a Medicare advocacy project, a Supplemental
Security Income advocacy project, a legal services for adoptive
families advocacy project, and an earned income tax credit
advocacy project can result in substantial financial gains for
the State by increasing the use of federal funds that are
available, but have not been accessed.  For example, estimates
suggest raising awareness about the federal earned income tax
credit program can result in $12 million of supplemental income
for working poor in the State of Hawaii.  Identifying individuals
who are eligible for federal Supplemental Security Income can
save the State approximately $2.4 million in general assistance
payments per year.  

     Your Committee intends the Legislative Reference Bureau
study to provide guidance to the legislature to shed light on the
the volatile issue of general assistance.

     Your Committee has amended this measure by:

     (1)  Requiring that the retained funds be used exclusively
          for case management;

     (2)  Requiring the standard of need to be based on the 1993
          rather than the "current" federal poverty level;

     (3)  Substituting the Department of Taxation for the DHS as
          the expending agency for the earned income tax credit
          programs appropriation; 

     (4)  Requiring that the Senate Committee on Health and Human
          Services conduct the study with the assistance of the
          LRB, of general assistance, with input from government
          agencies and community representatives; and

     (5)  Deleting references to the DHS collaborating and
          cooperating with the LRB and the LRB seeking input from
          the Legal Aid Society.

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Health and Human Services that is attached to this
report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose
of S.B. No. 171, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass
Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 171,
S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

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                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Health and Human

                                   SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair

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