Bill Text: MI SB0240 | 2019-2020 | 100th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Human services; services or financial assistance; water rate affordability program and fund; create. Amends 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.1 - 400.119b) by adding secs. 14m, 14n, 14o, 14p & 14q. TIE BAR WITH: SB 0241'19

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-21 - Referred To Committee On Environmental Quality [SB0240 Detail]

Download: Michigan-2019-SB0240-Introduced.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE BILL No. 240

 

 

March 21, 2019, Introduced by Senators ALEXANDER, CHANG, GEISS, WOJNO, IRWIN, HERTEL, ANANICH and MOSS and referred to the Committee on Environmental Quality.

 

 

 

     A bill to amend 1939 PA 280, entitled

 

"The social welfare act,"

 

(MCL 400.1 to 400.119b) by adding sections 14m, 14n, 14o, 14p, and

 

14q.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 14m. As used in this section and sections 14n to 14q:

 

     (a) "Eligible customer" means a provider's customer whose

 

household income does not exceed 200% of the federal poverty

 

guidelines or who meets any of the following requirements:

 

     (i) Has received assistance from a state emergency relief

 

program within the past year.

 

     (ii) Receives food assistance under the federal Supplemental

 

Nutrition Assistance Program administered by the state.

 

     (iii) Receives medical assistance administered under this act.

 

     (iv) Receives any other form of federal or state public


assistance.

 

     (b) "Low-income water residential affordability program" means

 

the low-income water residential affordability program created in

 

section 14n.

 

     (c) "Nonaffordability application" means a form that the

 

department must develop to trigger an income eligibility review for

 

the low-income water residential affordability program. The

 

nonaffordability application must include the option of

 

authorization for release of the customer's information to the

 

provider.

 

     (d) "Provider" means any water and sewerage system that

 

provides water or sewerage service in this state.

 

     (e) "Task force" means the task force created in section 14p.

 

     Sec. 14n. (1) The low-income water residential affordability

 

program is created within the department to address reduction or

 

retiring of water and sewerage bill arrearages and to ensure that

 

an eligible customer's monthly water and sewerage bill is based on

 

the eligible customer's household income. The department shall

 

develop and administer the low-income water residential

 

affordability program created under this act.

 

     (2) Not later than 30 days after the department receives a

 

signed nonaffordability application, the department shall complete

 

an income eligibility review to determine if the individual meets

 

the eligibility requirement for the low-income water residential

 

affordability program. The department shall determine eligibility

 

for the low-income water residential affordability program using

 

the same process by which it determines eligibility for cash


assistance under this act. The department shall immediately notify

 

the provider it has begun the eligibility review and that the

 

provider shall not pursue shutoff during the review. The department

 

shall send notification to the applicant and the provider about the

 

results of the eligibility review promptly once that review is

 

completed.

 

     (3) In addition to any other verification of income accepted

 

by the department, the department may accept a federal income tax

 

return as documentation of income. When applicable, the department

 

must use publicly available information regarding standard benefit

 

amounts for supplemental security income and temporary assistance

 

for needy families. An applicant has no obligation to provide

 

confirmation of the amount of benefits he or she receives from

 

supplemental security income and temporary assistance to needy

 

families.

 

     (4) If, upon the department's determination of the

 

individual's household income, the department finds that the

 

individual is an eligible customer, the department shall provide

 

that information, as well as the eligible customer's household

 

income, to that eligible customer's provider. Upon receipt of the

 

information from the department under this subsection, the eligible

 

customer's provider shall charge the eligible customer a rate that

 

is affordable based on the eligible customer's household income as

 

determined by the department. Alternatively, the department may

 

provide a subsidy to the eligible customer based on the

 

department's determination of the eligible customer's household

 

income.


     (5) The department shall inform the individual of the

 

determination of whether or not he or she is an eligible customer.

 

If the individual is an eligible customer, the department shall

 

provide him or her with information regarding the low-income water

 

residential affordability program and the rate to be charged by the

 

provider.

 

     Sec. 14o. (1) Each provider shall give notice to its customers

 

regarding the availability of the low-income water residential

 

affordability program and the process to apply for that program.

 

The notice required under this subsection must be given to each

 

customer in writing at least 1 time per year and by posting on the

 

provider's website.

 

     (2) The department must inform all persons receiving services

 

from the department regarding the availability of the low-income

 

water residential affordability program and the process to apply

 

for that program.

 

     Sec. 14p. (1) Not later than 30 days after the effective date

 

of the amendatory act that added this section, the department shall

 

create a low-income water residential affordability program task

 

force.

 

     (2) The department director shall appoint members of the task

 

force that include, but are not limited to, representatives of

 

providers and water and sewerage customer advocacy groups.

 

     (3) The task force shall do all of the following:

 

     (a) Discuss, and advise the department on, best practices for

 

administering the low-income water residential affordability

 

program.


     (b) By no later than March 1, 2020, create a plan for the low-

 

income water residential affordability program that is based on

 

household income, that addresses water and sewerage bill

 

arrearages, and that includes, but is not limited to, funding and

 

coordination of voluntary check-off contributions with providers.

 

This plan shall be implemented by the department no later than

 

October 1, 2020.

 

     Sec. 14q. (1) The low-income water residential affordability

 

program fund is created within the state treasury.

 

     (2) The state treasurer may receive money or other assets from

 

any source for deposit into the fund, including, but not limited

 

to, money received from a voluntary checkoff on water and sewerage

 

bills as provided in the water shutoff protection act. The state

 

treasurer shall direct the investment of the fund. The state

 

treasurer shall credit to the fund interest and earnings from fund

 

investments.

 

     (3) Money in the fund at the close of the fiscal year shall

 

remain in the fund and shall not lapse to the general fund.

 

     (4) The department shall be the administrator of the fund for

 

auditing purposes.

 

     (5) The department shall expend money from the fund, upon

 

appropriation, only for 1 or more of the following purposes:

 

     (a) Administration of the low-income water residential

 

affordability program.

 

     (b) Providing of a subsidy to eligible customers as determined

 

necessary by the department.

 

     Enacting section 1. This amendatory act takes effect 90 days


after the date it is enacted into law.

 

     Enacting section 2. This amendatory act does not take effect

 

unless Senate Bill No. 241

 

of the 100th Legislature is enacted into law.

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