Chief Sponsor: Candice B. Pierucci

Senate Sponsor: Todd Weiler


8     General Description:
9          This bill modifies provisions of the Utah Workforce Services Code and the Substance
10     Abuse and Mental Health Act.
11     Highlighted Provisions:
12          This bill:
13          ▸     modifies civil penalty provisions related to obtaining overpayments for certain
14     public assistance;
15          ▸     moves the Safety Net Initiative from the Department of Workforce Services to the
16     Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health; and
17          ▸     makes technical changes.
18     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
19          None
20     Other Special Clauses:
21          None
22     Utah Code Sections Affected:
23     AMENDS:
24          35A-1-104, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2018, Chapter 200
25          35A-3-603, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 221
27          62A-15-118, (Renumbered from 35A-3-802, as renumbered and amended by Laws of
28     Utah 2016, Chapter 133)
29     REPEALS:

30          35A-3-801, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2016, Chapter 133

32     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
33          Section 1. Section 35A-1-104 is amended to read:
34          35A-1-104. Department authority.
35          Within all other authority or responsibility granted to it by law, the department may:
36          (1) adopt rules when authorized by this title, in accordance with the procedures of Title
37     63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act;
38          (2) purchase, as authorized or required by law, services that the department is
39     responsible to provide for legally eligible persons;
40          (3) conduct adjudicative proceedings in accordance with the procedures of Title 63G,
41     Chapter 4, Administrative Procedures Act;
42          (4) establish eligibility standards for [its] department programs, not inconsistent with
43     state or federal law or regulations;
44          (5) take necessary steps, including legal action, to recover money or the monetary value
45     of services provided to a recipient who is not eligible;
46          (6) administer oaths, certify to official acts, issue subpoenas to compel witnesses and
47     the production of books, accounts, documents, and other records necessary as evidence;
48          (7) acquire, manage, and dispose of any real or personal property needed or owned by
49     the department, not inconsistent with state law;
50          (8) receive gifts, grants, devises, and donations or their proceeds, crediting the program
51     designated by the donor, and using the gift, grant, devise, or donation for the purposes
52     requested by the donor, as long as the request conforms to state and federal policy;
53          (9) accept and employ volunteer labor or services;
54          (10) reimburse volunteers for necessary expenses, when the department considers that
55     reimbursement to be appropriate;
56          (11) carry out the responsibility assigned by the State Workforce Services Plan
57     developed by the State Workforce Development Board;

58          (12) (a) provide training and educational opportunities for the department's staff; and
59          (b) ensure that any training or educational opportunity described in Subsection (12)(a)
60     complies with Title 63G, Chapter 22, State Training and Certification Requirements;
61          (13) examine and audit the expenditures of any public funds provided to a local
62     authority, agency, or organization that contracts with or receives funds from those authorities or
63     agencies;
64          (14) accept and administer grants from the federal government and from other sources,
65     public or private;
66          (15) employ and determine the compensation of clerical, legal, technical, investigative,
67     and other employees necessary to carry out [its] the department's policymaking, regulatory, and
68     enforcement powers, rights, duties, and responsibilities under this title;
69          (16) establish and conduct free employment agencies, and bring together employers
70     seeking employees and working people seeking employment, and make known the
71     opportunities for employment in this state;
72          (17) collect, collate, and publish statistical and other information relating to employees,
73     employers, employments, and places of employment, and other statistics as [it] the department
74     considers proper;
75          (18) encourage the expansion and use of apprenticeship programs meeting state or
76     federal standards for apprenticeship programs;
77          (19) develop processes to ensure that the department responds to the full range of
78     employee and employer clients; and
79          (20) carry out the responsibilities assigned to [it] the department by statute[; and].
80          [(21) administer the Safety Net Initiative as described in Section 35A-3-802.]
81          Section 2. Section 35A-3-603 is amended to read:
82          35A-3-603. Civil liability for overpayment.
83          (1) A provider, recipient, or other person who receives an overpayment shall,
84     regardless of fault, return the overpayment or repay its value to the department immediately:
85          (a) upon receiving written notice of the overpayment from the department; or

86          (b) upon discovering the overpayment, if that occurs before receiving notice.
87          (2) (a) Except as provided under Subsection (2)(b), interest on the unreturned balance
88     of the overpayment shall accrue at the rate of 1% a month.
89          (b) If the overpayment was not the fault of the person receiving it, that person is not
90     liable for interest on the unreturned balance.
91          (c) In accordance with federal law and rules made by the department in accordance
92     with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act, an overpayment may be
93     recovered through deductions from cash assistance, General Assistance, SNAP benefits, other
94     cash-related assistance provided to a recipient under this chapter, or other means provided by
95     federal law.
96          (3) A person who knowingly assists a recipient, provider, or other person in obtaining
97     an overpayment is jointly and severally liable for the overpayment.
98          (4) (a) In proving civil liability for overpayment under this section, or Section
99     35A-3-605, when fault is alleged, the department shall prove by clear and convincing evidence
100     that the overpayment was obtained intentionally, knowingly, recklessly as "intentionally,
101     knowingly, and recklessly" are defined in Section 76-2-103, by false statement,
102     misrepresentation, impersonation, or other fraudulent means, including committing any of the
103     acts or omissions described in Sections 76-8-1203, 76-8-1204, or 76-8-1205.
104          (b) If fault is established under Subsection (4)(a), Section 35A-3-605, or Title 76,
105     Chapter 8, Part 12, Public Assistance Fraud, a person who obtained or helped another obtain an
106     overpayment is subject to:
107          (i) a civil penalty of 10% of the amount of the overpayment, except for overpayments
108     related to assistance for child care services; [and]
109          (ii) a civil penalty of 50% of the amount of the overpayment for overpayments related
110     to assistance for child care services;
111          [(ii)] (iii) disqualification from receiving cash assistance from the Family Employment
112     Program created in Section 35A-3-302 and the General Assistance program under Section
113     35A-3-401, if the overpayment was obtained from either of those programs, for the period

114     described in Subsection (4)(c); [or] and
115          [(iii)] (iv) disqualification from SNAP, if the overpayment was received from SNAP,
116     for the period described in Subsection (4)(c).
117          (c) Unless otherwise provided by federal law, the period of a disqualification under
118     Subsection (4)(b)[(ii)](iii) and [(iii)] (iv) is for:
119          (i) 12 months for a first offense;
120          (ii) 24 months for a second offense; and
121          (iii) permanently for a third offense.
122          (5) (a) Except as provided under Subsection (5)(b), if an action is filed, the department
123     may recover, in addition to the principal sum plus interest, reasonable attorney fees and costs.
124          (b) If the repayment obligation arose from an administrative error by the department,
125     the department may not recover attorney fees and costs.
126          (6) If a court finds that funds or benefits were secured, in whole or part, by fraud by the
127     person from whom repayment is sought, the court shall assess an additional sum as considered
128     appropriate as punitive damages up to the amount of repayment being sought.
129          (7) A criminal action for public assistance fraud is governed by Title 76, Chapter 8,
130     Part 12, Public Assistance Fraud.
131          (8) Jurisdiction over benefits is continuous.
132          (9) This chapter does not preclude the Department of Health from carrying out its
133     responsibilities under Title 26, Chapter 19, Medical Benefits Recovery Act, and Chapter 20,
134     Utah False Claims Act.
135          Section 3. Section 62A-15-118, which is renumbered from Section 35A-3-802 is
136     renumbered and amended to read:
137          [35A-3-802].      62A-15-118. Safety Net Initiative.
138          (1) As used in this section, "individuals in underserved communities" means
139     individuals living in culturally isolated communities in the state who may lack access to public
140     assistance and other government services.
141          (2) There is created within the [department] division the Safety Net Initiative to:

142          (a) implement strategies to increase awareness and reduce risk factors in order to
143     improve the safety and well-being of individuals in underserved communities;
144          (b) coordinate with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and interested
145     individuals to provide open communication with individuals in underserved communities; and
146          (c) coordinate efforts to give individuals in underserved communities needed access to
147     public assistance and other government services.
148          (3) The [department] division may employ or contract with individuals, entities, and
149     support staff as necessary to administer the duties required by this section.
150          Section 4. Repealer.
151          This bill repeals:
152          Section 35A-3-801, Title.