Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/25/1996 09:06 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 215 OMNIBUS STATE AGENCY OPERATIONS & PROGRAM Number 003 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:06 a.m. and introduced SB 215 as the first order of business before the committee. ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant in Department of Health & Social Services, said that he would speak to Section 5 regarding the Infant Learning Program. When the Infant Learning Program attempted to promulgate regulations in order to bring the program into compliance with new federal requirements, the Department of Law informed the department that it did not have specific grant making authority for this program. This program has and is currently operating as a grant program. Without the grant authority, this program would be required to go to a contractual basis which requires the procurement process and some additional costs to the department. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if he was referring only to the Infant Learning Program. ELMER LINDSTROM explained that the Infant Learning Program is funded through the Division of Public Health. Mr. Lindstrom acknowledged that there is often confusion that the program is in the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. In response to Chairman Green, review of the full statute would indicate that it only refers to the Infant Learning Program. Mr. Lindstrom said that the department had assumed that they had grant powers for this program, but the Department of Law indicated otherwise when approached about regulations. Number 066 SENATOR LEMAN expressed concern with what sideboards were placed on the grant authority. Senator Leman believed it is probably right to grant this authority. Does the federal law establish certain restrictions regarding what this can be used for? ELMER LINDSTROM did not have the regulations nor did he recall the issue with the federal government. The regulations were clean up regulations of no programmatic impact, but were required in order to receive federal funds. Mr. Lindstrom said that he could obtain that information for the committee. CHAIRMAN GREEN restated that without this grant making authority, the department would have to contract which creates more work and increases the costs. ELMER LINDSTROM agreed and said that additional administrative costs would be incurred by the department. This program has always operated as a grant program; this is a technical clean up. With regards to Section 6, Mr. Lindstrom did not believe that section applied to the program. CHAIRMAN GREEN thought that Sections 5 and 6 were related to the department. ELMER LINDSTROM said that he was incorrect, Sections 5 and 6 work together. CHAIRMAN GREEN inquired as to the new language in Section 6. SENATOR LEMAN believed that Section 6 should be consistent with Section 5. Number 129 SENATOR MILLER realized that page 3, line 11 is already existing law, but how does it work? What happens if a family is determined to no longer be eligible for a program that they receive funding? Does the department attempt to recover those funds of families that were not really eligible? ELMER LINDSTROM did not know the process in detail. Many of the ILPs are operated by school districts. Mr. Lindstrom acknowledged that there is still a waiting list in some areas of the state. Mr. Lindstrom said that he could get this information from the division. SENATOR MILLER was curious to what happens when a family is determined to be ineligible. The language seems to indicate that the family would receive funding until proven not to be eligible. In that case, is there an attempt to recover those funds? ELMER LINDSTROM said that he would get that information. A discussion ensued about whether or not to hold the bill for the answers to these questions. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that the staff is frustrated because people challenge a decision in order to continue to receive benefits. During the time between the challenge and the determination, the person receives benefits. If it is determined that the person is ineligible, is there an effort to retrieve the money they received? Chairman Green held the bill until Wednesday when Mr. Lindstrom would provide the requested information.