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A03290
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1095
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY HEFFLEY, BURNS, METZGAR, BLOOM, MACKENZIE,
EVERETT, KAUFFMAN, ROAE, METCALFE, IRVIN, BARRAR, COX,
TALLMAN, MILLARD, MARSICO, DUNBAR, LAWRENCE, GOODMAN AND
GILLEN, APRIL 12, 2017
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, APRIL 12, 2017
AN ACT
Requiring identification of lawful presence in the United States
as a prerequisite to the receipt of public benefits.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Proof of
Citizenship for Receipt of Public Benefits Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Access device." The Pennsylvania ACCESS card or Electronic
Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
"Affidavit." An unsworn statement that is made subject to
the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn
falsification to authorities).
"Agency." A government agency.
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"Authorized cardholder." An individual to whom an access
device has been issued for the purpose of accessing:
(1) public benefits of which the individual is a
recipient;
(2) public benefits on behalf of a minor who is a
recipient of public benefits;
(3) public benefits on behalf of a recipient of public
benefits who is unable to use an access device because of a
disability; or
(4) public benefits on behalf of a household, so long as
the individual is an adult member of the household and has
been authorized by a recipient of public benefits to access
the benefits.
"Person." An individual.
"Public benefits."
(1) Any of the following:
(i) A grant, contract or loan provided by an agency
of the Commonwealth or a local government.
(ii) A welfare, health, disability, public or
assisted housing, postsecondary education, food
assistance, unemployment benefit or other similar benefit
for which payments or assistance are provided to an
individual, household or family eligibility unit by an
agency of the Commonwealth or a local government.
(2) The term does not include any of the following:
(i) Benefits listed under section 411(b) of the
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193, 110 Stat.
2105).
(ii) A contract for a nonimmigrant whose visa for
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entry is related to employment in the United States or to
a citizen of a freely associated state, if section 141 of
the applicable compact of free association approved under
the Compact of Free Association Act of 1985 (Public Law
99-239, 99 Stat. 1770) or the Joint Resolution to approve
the "Compact of Free Association" between the United
States and the Government of Palau, and for other
purposes (Public Law 99-658, 100 Stat. 3672) or a
successor provision, is in effect.
(iii) Benefits for an alien who as a work-authorized
nonimmigrant or as an alien lawfully admitted for
permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality
Act (66 Stat. 163, 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq.) qualified for
benefits and for whom the United States under reciprocal
treaty agreements is required to pay benefits, as
determined by the Secretary of State, after consultation
with the Attorney General of the United States.
(iv) A Federal public benefit under section 401(c)
of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act of 1996.
(v) Nutrition programs enumerated in section
742(b)(2) of the Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
(vi) Programs providing assistance in the form of
food or food vouchers, including the Special Supplemental
Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
(vii) Protective services provided under the act of
November 6, 1987 (P.L.381, No.79), known as the Older
Adults Protective Services Act, and the act of October 7,
2010 (P.L.484, No.70), known as the Adult Protective
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Services Act.
(viii) Services provided to a victim of a severe
form of trafficking in persons as defined under 22 U.S.C.
§ 7105(b)(1)(C) (relating to protection and assistance
for victims of trafficking).
(ix) Unemployment benefits for an alien who has
obtained employment authorization from the Department of
Homeland Security.
"Public money." The term includes the cost of arrest,
prosecution, incarceration or detainment of an unauthorized
alien and any related expenses.
"Unauthorized alien." An alien who is not eligible for any
State or local public benefits under section 411(a) of the
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
of 1996.
Section 3. Identification and eligibility.
(a) Requirements.--A person who applies directly to an
agency for public benefits shall provide proof of identification
and proof of eligibility in accordance with this section.
(b) Proof of identification.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person
subject to subsection (a) must provide, in person, by mail or
by electronic means, one of the following forms of
identification to the agency:
(i) A valid driver's license or identification card
issued by the Department of Transportation.
(ii) A valid identification card issued by an agency
of the Commonwealth.
(iii) A valid identification card issued by the
United States Government, a state government or the
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Government of Canada.
(iv) A valid United States passport.
(v) A document from an agency of the United States
or a state National Guard establishing that the person is
a current member of or a veteran of the United States
Armed Forces or National Guard.
(vi) A form of identification as listed in United
States Attorney General's Order Number 2129-97 Interim
Guidance on Verification of Citizenship, Qualified Alien
Status and Eligibility Under Title IV of the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of
1996 (Public Law 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105), as issued by
the Department of Justice at 62 Fed. Reg. 61344 (Nov. 17,
1997) or a subsequent version of that Attorney General's
order.
(2) If the person does not possess a form of
identification listed in paragraph (1), the person must
provide, in person, by mail or by electronic means, an
affidavit stating that the person signing the affidavit is
the person who is applying for public benefits and that the
person does not possess a form of identification listed in
paragraph (1).
(c) Proof of eligibility.--To demonstrate eligibility, a
person subject to subsection (a) must provide, in person, by
mail or by electronic means, one of the following to the agency:
(1) An affidavit stating that the person is a United
States citizen.
(2) An affidavit stating that the person is eligible for
State or local benefits under section 411(a) of the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of
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1996.
(d) Recordkeeping of affidavit.--The agency shall maintain
the affidavit required under subsections (b) and (c) in
accordance with the applicable records retention schedule.
(e) Exceptions.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to:
(1) A person under 18 years of age.
(2) A person currently receiving Supplemental Security
Income or Social Security disability income.
(3) A person entitled to or enrolled in Medicare Part A
or Part B, or both.
(4) A person applying for public benefits on behalf of a
person under 18 years of age.
(5) A person whose citizenship has been verified under
section 1902(ee) of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42
U.S.C. § 1396a(ee)).
(6) A person who declares by affidavit that, because of
domestic violence, the person does not currently possess any
of the identification documents listed in subsection (a)(1).
The domestic violence shall be verified using state standards
developed under section 402(a)(7) of the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of
1996.
(7) A person who seeks emergency disaster relief.
Section 4. Verification through Systematic Alien Verification
Program (SAVE).
(a) General rule.--An agency that administers public
benefits shall verify, through the Systematic Alien Verification
for Entitlements (SAVE) Program operated by the Department of
Homeland Security or a successor program designated by the
Department of Homeland Security, that each noncitizen applicant
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who has executed an affidavit under section 3(c)(2) is eligible
for State or local benefits under section 411(a) of the Personal
Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law
104-193, 110 Stat. 2105).
(b) Presumption of eligibility by affidavit.--Until
verification of eligibility is made, the affidavit executed
under section 3(c)(2) may be presumed to be proof that the
person is eligible for State or local benefits under section
411(a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation
Act of 1996.
Section 5. Prohibiting issuance of access devices to persons
who are not authorized cardholders.
An agency may not issue an access device to a person who is
not eligible to be an authorized cardholder.
Section 6. Possession or use of access device.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if the
person:
(1) is not an authorized cardholder and possesses or
uses an access device; or
(2) possesses or uses an access device that was not
issued to the person.
(b) Separate offenses.--Each time a person possesses or uses
an access device in violation of subsection (a) constitutes a
separate offense under this section.
(c) Grading.--A person who violates subsection (a) commits a
felony of the third degree.
Section 7. False statements.
A person who knowingly and willfully makes a false,
fictitious or fraudulent statement of representation in an
affidavit executed under section 3 may be subject to prosecution
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under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to
authorities).
Section 8. Nondiscrimination.
This act shall be enforced without regard to race, religion,
gender, ethnicity or national origin.
Section 9. Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements
(SAVE) Program.
(a) Reporting.--If an agency encounters errors and
significant delays when using the SAVE Program under section 4,
the agency shall report the errors and delays to the Department
of Homeland Security and to the Attorney General.
(b) Monitoring.--The Attorney General shall monitor the SAVE
Program and the program's verification application for errors
and significant delays and report yearly on the errors and
significant delays to ensure that the application of the SAVE
Program is not wrongfully denying benefits to legal residents of
this Commonwealth.
Section 10. Notification to the Governor's Office of
Administration and posting on PennWATCH.
(a) General rule.--An agency, upon determining that public
money has been expended on or public benefits provided to an
unauthorized alien, shall prepare an invoice listing the cost of
the expenditures or benefits. The agency shall transmit the
invoice along with any identifying information concerning the
unauthorized alien to the Governor's Office of Administration
for inclusion in the publicly accessible Internet website known
as PennWATCH.
(b) Access.--The Governor's Office of Administration shall
provide access to the invoices under the act of February 14,
2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law.
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Section 11. Applicability.
(a) General rule.--Except as otherwise provided in
subsection (b), this act shall apply to applications for public
benefits and renewal of public benefits filed directly with an
agency after the effective date of this section.
(b) Federal funding and law.--This act shall not apply to
applications for public benefits and renewal of public benefits
filed directly with an agency if compliance with this act would
lead to loss of Federal funding or be in conflict with any
Federal law.
Section 12. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 120 days.
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