S‑0526.1   _____________________________________________






State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senator Franklin


Read first time 01/08/2001.  Referred to Committee on Human Services & Corrections.

_1      AN ACT Relating to transportation for recipients of temporary

_2  assistance for needy families; adding a new section to chapter

_3  74.08A RCW; creating new sections; and declaring an emergency.




_5      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature finds that families

_6  receiving temporary assistance for needy families face many

_7  barriers to economic success.  According to recent studies, lack

_8  of reliable transportation to work and to school and child care

_9  sites is one of the primary barriers to consistent

10  employment.  Families without reliable transportation are faced with

11  the struggle to get children to school and child care sites, and

12  parents to work, in situations where public transportation is

13  lacking or impractical.  Families that own cars are sometimes unable

14  to pay for adequate maintenance.  The result can be losing a job

15  because of poor attendance, another setback in a life of struggle.

16      Unlike some of the other, less tangible, primary barriers to

17  employment such as mental health conditions or alcohol or

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_1  substance abuse problems, the lack of a reliable means of

_2  transportation can be solved in some cases, by providing the

_3  family with access to its own vehicle.

_4      The legislature finds that other states have created programs

_5  called "wheels to work," to provide qualifying adults receiving

_6  temporary assistance for needy families with a method of acquiring

_7  a vehicle in order to stabilize their employment.  These programs

_8  have met with some success.

_9      The legislature intends that Washington establish a wheels to

10  work program, as a public-private partnership, to provide

11  qualified families on temporary assistance for needy families with

12  the ability to own a vehicle.  The legislature intends to study the

13  costs and benefits of the wheels to work program.


14      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 74.08A

15  RCW to read as follows:

16      (1) The wheels to work program is established in the

17  department.  The program will accept donated vehicles and provide

18  them to qualified adults receiving temporary assistance for needy

19  families.  For the first year of the program, the department shall

20  contract with a private nonprofit entity to operate the program in

21  three locations, one in Pierce county, one in Yakima county, and

22  one in Spokane county.  The program shall be expanded statewide one

23  year after implementation.

24      (2) The entity under contract with the department shall

25  determine the acceptability of donated vehicles, based upon the

26  needs of the program and the budget constraints of the entity.  The

27  entity shall only accept driveable vehicles, and shall not accept

28  vehicles for parts or scrap, but may accept charitable donations

29  of funds to use in the repair or maintenance of the donated

30  vehicles.  The entity shall assume title on acceptance of the

31  donated vehicle, and shall provide a receipt for tax purposes to

32  the vehicle donor.

33      (3) In addition to obtaining donated vehicles for the wheels to

34  work program, the department may, at its election, choose to make

35  interagency arrangements with state and local government motor

36  pools in order to acquire government surplus vehicles for use in

37  the program.  The department may also purchase vehicles from the

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_1  commercial market for use in the program, if the vehicles meet

_2  recipient asset and resource considerations and are inspected and

_3  certified by an independent mechanic before their use by

_4  recipients.

_5      (4) Upon donation of a vehicle and transfer of title, the donor

_6  is not liable for any damage, repair, emissions compliance,

_7  vehicle insurance, or determination of vehicle safety.

_8      (5) Donated vehicles shall be available for a six-month lease

_9  for thirty dollars per month to qualified adult recipients of

10  temporary assistance for needy families who have a verifiable job

11  for which the vehicle is essential transportation.  Qualified

12  recipients must possess a valid Washington driver's license and be

13  insurable.  The department shall certify to the entity that the

14  applicant for a vehicle is a qualified recipient.  For the first six

15  months of the lease term, the department shall cover the cost of

16  the recipient's car insurance premium.  At the end of six months,

17  the qualified recipient shall provide insurance for the vehicle,

18  and continue paying thirty dollars per month for an additional six-

19  month lease term.  During the twelve months of the total lease term,

20  the entity shall provide all necessary repairs to the vehicle and

21  ensure emissions compliance, except that the recipient shall be

22  responsible for normal vehicle maintenance.  At the end of the

23  twelve-month lease term, title to the vehicle shall be transferred

24  to the recipient.

25      (6) If the recipient leaves employment without good cause, the

26  recipient has thirty days to find new employment or the vehicle

27  shall be returned to the entity and the lease canceled.

28      (7) If the recipient leasing the vehicle is convicted of any

29  felony in violation of Title 9 or 9A RCW, including driving under

30  the influence of alcohol or drugs, after the inception of the

31  lease, the leased vehicle shall be returned to the entity and the

32  lease canceled.


33      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  The department of social and health

34  services shall contract with the Washington state institute for

35  public policy to perform a study of the wheels for work program,

36  including at the minimum a cost-benefit analysis, and an

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_1  evaluation of the extent to which access to a personal vehicle

_2  enabled the family on assistance to progress toward economic

_3  independence.

_4      The institute for public policy shall, as part of the pilot

_5  project design, develop protocols for selection from the pool of

_6  WorkFirst clients eligible for wheels to work transportation

_7  assistance, in order to assure random assignment of clients and

_8  enable clear identification of the costs and benefits attributable

_9  to the pilot program.

10      The institute for public policy shall report to the legislature

11  one year after the implementation of the program, on the progress

12  of the study.  The report shall include, without limitation, a

13  comparison of program administration expenditures versus

14  reductions, if any, in the use of welfare grants, food stamps,

15  medical assistance, and WorkFirst support services, such as child

16  care subsidies, clothing expenses, and other types of

17  transportation assistance.  Any participant benefits, such as

18  increased earnings, shall also be included.


19      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  If any part of this act is found to be in

20  conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition

21  to the allocation of federal funds to the state, the conflicting

22  part of this act is inoperative solely to the extent of the

23  conflict and with respect to the agencies directly affected, and

24  this finding does not affect the operation of the remainder of

25  this act in its application to the agencies concerned.  Rules

26  adopted under this act must meet federal requirements that are a

27  necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state.


28      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  This act is necessary for the immediate

29  preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of

30  the state government and its existing public institutions, and

31  takes effect immediately.


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