Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 576

Public Act No. 04-166

AN ACT CONCERNING REGULATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17b-10 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) The Department of Social Services shall prepare and routinely update state medical services and public assistance manuals. [and general assistance policy manuals. ] The pages of such manuals shall be consecutively numbered and indexed, containing all departmental policy regulations and substantive procedure, written in clear and concise language. Said manuals shall be published by the department and distributed so that they are available to (1) all [district, subdistrict and field] regional and subregional offices of the Department of Social Services; (2) each town hall in the state; (3) all legal assistance programs in the state; and (4) any interested member of the public who requests a copy. All policy manuals of the department, as they exist on May 23, 1984, including the supporting bulletins but not including statements concerning only the internal management of the department and not affecting private rights or procedures available to the public, shall be construed to have been adopted as regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. After May 23, 1984, any policy issued by the department, except a policy necessary to conform to a requirement of a federal or joint federal and state program administered by the department, including, but not limited to, the state supplement program to the Supplemental Security Income Program, shall be adopted [in regulation form] as a regulation in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.

(b) [After May 23, 1984, the] The department shall adopt [in regulation form] as a regulation in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, any new policy necessary to conform to a requirement of an approved federal waiver application initiated in accordance with section 17b-8 and any new policy necessary to conform to a requirement of a federal or joint state and federal program administered by the department, including, but not limited to, the state supplement program to the Supplemental Security Income Program, but the department may operate under such policy while it is in the process of adopting the policy [in regulation form] as a regulation, provided the Department of Social Services prints notice of intent to adopt the [regulations] regulation in the Connecticut Law Journal within twenty days after adopting the policy. Such policy shall be valid until the time final regulations are effective.

[(b) By July 1, 1986, the Department of Social Services shall rewrite the general assistance policy manual using plain language as described in section 42-152 and sections 38a-295 to 38a-300, inclusive. The manual shall include an index for frequent referencing and a separate section or manual which specifies procedures to follow to clarify policy. The department shall keep records of policy and procedural questions raised by town welfare officials and staff during telephone conversations and office visits.

(c) By January 1, 1987, the Department of Social Services shall replace its state public assistance policy manual with a new manual which is adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 and which sets forth in clear and concise language the policies and procedures to be used by the department in implementing and enforcing federal and state laws. The department may operate under a policy in the new recipient eligibility and benefit policy manual while it is in the process of adopting the manual in regulation form, provided the department shall print a notice of intent to adopt regulations relating to recipient eligibility and benefits in the Connecticut Law Journal within twenty days of issuing the policy. ]

(c) On and after July 1, 2004, the department shall submit proposed regulations that are required by subsection (b) of this section to the standing legislative regulation review committee, as provided in subsection (b) of section 4-170, not later than one hundred eighty days after publication of the notice of its intent to adopt regulations. The department shall include with the proposed regulation a statement identifying (1) the date on which the proposed regulation became effective as a policy as provided in subsection (b) of this section, and (2) any provisions of the proposed regulation that are no longer in effect on the date of the submittal of the proposed regulation, together with a list of all policies that the department has operated under, as provided in subsection (b) of this section, that superceded any provision of the proposed regulation.

(d) In lieu of submitting proposed regulations by the date specified in subsection (c) of this section, the department may submit to the legislative regulation review committee a notice not later than thirty-five days before such date that the department will not be able to submit the proposed regulations on or before such date and shall include in such notice (1) the reasons why the department will not submit the proposed regulations by such date, and (2) the date by which the department will submit the proposed regulations. The legislative regulation review committee may require the department to appear before the committee at a time prescribed by the committee to further explain the reasons for the request and to respond to any questions by the committee about the policy. The legislative regulation review committee may request the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services to review the department's policy, the department's reasons for not submitting the proposed regulations by the date specified in subsection (c) of this section and the date by which the department will submit the proposed regulations. Said joint standing committee may review the policy, such reasons and such date, may schedule a hearing thereon and may make a recommendation to the legislative regulation review committee.

(e) If amendments to an existing regulation are necessary solely to conform the regulation to amendments to the general statutes, and if the amendments to the regulation do not entail any discretion by the department, the department may elect to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) of section 4-168 or may proceed without prior notice or hearing. Any such amendments to a regulation shall be submitted in the form and manner prescribed in subsection (b) of section 4-170, to the Attorney General, as provided in section 4-169, and to the committee, as provided in section 4-170, for approval and upon approval shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of the State.

Approved June 1, 2004