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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3223        FILED ON: 1/21/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3549

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Daniel K. Webster

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to public benefits .

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Daniel K. Webster

6th Plymouth

Randy Hunt

5th Barnstable

Steven L. Levy

4th Middlesex

Donald F. Humason, Jr.

4th Hampden

Marc T. Lombardo

22nd Middlesex

Geoff Diehl

7th Plymouth

F. Jay Barrows

1st Bristol

James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex

Bruce E. Tarr

 

James R. Miceli

19th Middlesex

Susan Williams Gifford

2nd Plymouth

James J. Lyons, Jr.

18th Essex

Shaunna O'Connell

3rd Bristol

Todd M. Smola

1st Hampden

Peter J. Durant

6th Worcester


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3223        FILED ON: 1/21/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3549

By Mr. Webster of Pembroke, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3549) of Daniel K. Webster and others for legislation to further regulate the disposition of public benefits and providing for the implementation of a security and immigration compliance law.  Public Safety and Homeland Security. 

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act relative to public benefits .

 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Massachusetts Security and Immigration Compliance Act."

              SECTION 2. The General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, are hereby amended by inserting after chapter 117A the following new c hapter:--

              Chapter 117B

              Restrictions on Public Benefits

              Section 1. Definitions.

              As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the following meanings unless the conte xt clearly requires otherwise:-

              “Emergency Medical Condition,” the same meaning as provided in section 1396b (v) (3) of Title 42 of the United States Code.

              “Federal Public Benefits,” the same meaning as provided in section 1611 of Title 8 of the United States Code.

              “State Public Benefits,” the same meaning as provided in section 1621 of Title 8 of the United States Code .

              Section 2. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section or where exempted by federal law, on and after January 1, 2012, each agency or political subdivision of the commonwealth shall verify the lawful presence in the United States of every natural person eighteen years of age or older who applies for state public benefits or for federal public benefits which are for the benefit of the applicant.

              (b) This section shall be enforced without regard to race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or national origin.

              (c) Verification of lawful presences in the United States shall not be required:

              For any purpose for which lawful presence in the United States is not requi red by law, ordinance, or rule;

              For obtaining health care items and services that are necessary for the treatment of an emergency medical condition of the person involved and are not related to an organ transplant procedure;

              For short-term, non-cash, in- kind emergency disaster relief;

              For public health assistance for immunization with respect to diseases and for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases;

              For programs, services, or assistance, such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and intervention, and short-term shelter specified by Federal laws or regulations that:

              Deliver in-kind services at the community level, including services through public or private nonprofit agencies;

              Do not condition the provision of assistance, the amount of assistance provided, or the cost of assistance provided on the individual recip ient’s income or resources; and

              Are necessary for the protection of life or safety or;

              For parental care.

              (d) An agency or a political subdivision shall verify the lawful presence in the United States of each applicant eighteen years of age or older for federal public benefits or state public benefits by requiring the applicant to:

              (1 ) Produce:

              A valid Massachusetts driver license or a Massachusetts identification card, issued pursuant to section 8 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, and 540 Code of Massachusetts Regulation (CMR) 2.06 (3) (b);

              A United States military card or military depe ndent’s identification card; or

              A United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card; or

              A Native American tribal document.

              (2)               If such documentation as required in subparagraph (1) of subsection (d) of this section cannot be lawfully produced, execute a notarized affidavit stating:              

              That he or she is a United States citizen or legal permanent resident; or

              That he or she is otherwise lawfully present in the United States pursuant to federal law.

              (e) Notwithstanding the requirements of subparagraph (1) of subsection (d) of this section, the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue may issue emergency rule, to be effective until July 1, 2008 , providing for additional forms of identification or a waiver process to ensure that an individual seeking benefits pursuant to this section proves lawful presence in the United States.  This subsection and all emergency rules authorized hereunder shall cease to be effective as of July 1, 2008.

              (f) A person who knowingly makes a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in an affidavit executed pursuant to subsection (4) of this section shall pay a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000, or shall be sentenced to serve not less than 6 months nor more than 1 year in the House of Corrections. Each time that a person receives a public benefit based upon such a statement or representation they make shall constitute a separate violation of this section.

              (g) (1) For an applicant who has executed an affidavit stating that he or she is an alien lawfully present in the United States, verification of lawful presence for federal public benefits or state or local public benefits shall be made through the Federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement program, referred to in this section as the “SAVE program”, operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security.  Until such verification of lawful presence is made, the affidavit may be presumed to be proof of lawful presenc e for purposes of this section.

              (2) The secretary of each executive office of the commonwealth shall promulgate regulations to ensure that each agency or political subdivision has access to the SAVE program by way of the executive office under which it is organized. Each executive office shall be responsible for the verification through the SAVE program of all its sub agencies.  Each executive office shall enter into a memorandum of understanding or any other requirement pursuant to the SAFE program in order to streamline the verification process.  Each executive office shall keep account of all applications submitted through its subdivisions and transfer back to its subdivisions any costs on an annual basis.

              (h) Agencies or political subdivisions of the commonwealth may adopt variations of the requirements of paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of this section to improve efficiency or reduce delay in the verification process or to provide for adjudication of unique individuals circumstances in which the verification procedures in the section would impose unusual hardship on a legal resident of the commonwealth; provided, that the variations shall be no less stringent than the requirements of this section, including provisions to timely execute notarized affidavits.

              ( i ) It shall be unlawful for an agency or political subdivision of the commonwealth to provide a federal public benefit or state or local public benefit in violation of this section.  Each agency or department that administers a program that provides state of local public benefits shall provide an annual report with respect to its compliance with this section to the auditor and to the House and Senate chairs of the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight.

              (j) Errors and significant delays by the SAVE program shall be reported to the United States Department of Homeland Security which monitors the SAVE program and its verification application errors and significant delays and report yearly on such errors and delays, to ensure that the application of the SAVE program is not wrongfully denying benefits to legal residents of the State.

              SECTION 3. If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held by any court to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the section are declared to be severable.

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