Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1733 (es) To amend the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to provide for a national standard of interoperability and portability applicable to electronic food stamp benefit transactions. [Engrossed in Senate] ...

S. 1733 (es) To amend the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to provide for a national standard of interoperability and portability applicable to electronic food stamp benefit transactions. [Engrossed in Senate] ...


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        S.1733

                       One Hundred Sixth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
             the twenty-fourth day of January, two thousand


                                 An Act


 
 To amend the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to provide for a national standard 
of interoperability and portability applicable to electronic food stamp 
                          benefit transactions.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Electronic Benefit Transfer 
Interoperability and Portability Act of 2000''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are--
        (1) to protect the integrity of the food stamp program;
        (2) to ensure cost-effective portability of food stamp benefits 
    across State borders without imposing additional administrative 
    expenses for special equipment to address problems relating to the 
    portability;
        (3) to enhance the flow of interstate commerce involving 
    electronic transactions involving food stamp benefits under a 
    uniform national standard of interoperability and portability; and
        (4) to eliminate the inefficiencies resulting from a patchwork 
    of State-administered systems and regulations established to carry 
    out the food stamp program.
SEC. 3. INTEROPERABILITY AND PORTABILITY OF FOOD STAMP TRANSACTIONS.
    Section 7 of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2016) is amended 
by adding at the end the following:
    ``(k) Interoperability and Portability of Electronic Benefit 
Transfer Transactions.--
        ``(1) Definitions.--In this subsection:
            ``(A) Electronic benefit transfer card.--The term 
        `electronic benefit transfer card' means a card that provides 
        benefits under this Act through an electronic benefit transfer 
        service (as defined in subsection (i)(11)(A)).
            ``(B) Electronic benefit transfer contract.--The term 
        `electronic benefit transfer contract' means a contract that 
        provides for the issuance, use, or redemption of coupons in the 
        form of electronic benefit transfer cards.
            ``(C) Interoperability.--The term `interoperability' means 
        a system that enables a coupon issued in the form of an 
        electronic benefit transfer card to be redeemed in any State.
            ``(D) Interstate transaction.--The term `interstate 
        transaction' means a transaction that is initiated in 1 State 
        by the use of an electronic benefit transfer card that is 
        issued in another State.
            ``(E) Portability.--The term `portability' means a system 
        that enables a coupon issued in the form of an electronic 
        benefit transfer card to be used in any State by a household to 
        purchase food at a retail food store or wholesale food concern 
        approved under this Act.
            ``(F) Settling.--The term `settling' means movement, and 
        reporting such movement, of funds from an electronic benefit 
        transfer card issuer that is located in 1 State to a retail 
        food store, or wholesale food concern, that is located in 
        another State, to accomplish an interstate transaction.
            ``(G) Smart card.--The term `smart card' means an 
        intelligent benefit card described in section 17(f).
            ``(H) Switching.--The term `switching' means the routing of 
        an interstate transaction that consists of transmitting the 
        details of a transaction electronically recorded through the 
        use of an electronic benefit transfer card in 1 State to the 
        issuer of the card that is in another State.
        ``(2) Requirement.--Not later than October 1, 2002, the 
    Secretary shall ensure that systems that provide for the electronic 
    issuance, use, and redemption of coupons in the form of electronic 
    benefit transfer cards are interoperable, and food stamp benefits 
    are portable, among all States.
        ``(3) Cost.--The cost of achieving the interoperability and 
    portability required under paragraph (2) shall not be imposed on 
    any food stamp retail store, or any wholesale food concern, 
    approved to participate in the food stamp program.
        ``(4) Standards.--Not later than 210 days after the date of 
    enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall promulgate 
    regulations that--
            ``(A) adopt a uniform national standard of interoperability 
        and portability required under paragraph (2) that is based on 
        the standard of interoperability and portability used by a 
        majority of State agencies; and
            ``(B) require that any electronic benefit transfer contract 
        that is entered into 30 days or more after the regulations are 
        promulgated, by or on behalf of a State agency, provide for the 
        interoperability and portability required under paragraph (2) 
        in accordance with the national standard.
        ``(5) Exemptions.--
            ``(A) Contracts.--The requirements of paragraph (2) shall 
        not apply to the transfer of benefits under an electronic 
        benefit transfer contract before the expiration of the term of 
        the contract if the contract--
                ``(i) is entered into before the date that is 30 days 
            after the regulations are promulgated under paragraph (4); 
            and
                ``(ii) expires after October 1, 2002.
            ``(B) Waiver.--At the request of a State agency, the 
        Secretary may provide 1 waiver to temporarily exempt, for a 
        period ending on or before the date specified under clause 
        (iii), the State agency from complying with the requirements of 
        paragraph (2), if the State agency--
                ``(i) establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary 
            that the State agency faces unusual technological barriers 
            to achieving by October 1, 2002, the interoperability and 
            portability required under paragraph (2);
                ``(ii) demonstrates that the best interest of the food 
            stamp program would be served by granting the waiver with 
            respect to the electronic benefit transfer system used by 
            the State agency to administer the food stamp program; and
                ``(iii) specifies a date by which the State agency will 
            achieve the interoperability and portability required under 
            paragraph (2).
            ``(C) Smart card systems.--The Secretary shall allow a 
        State agency that is using smart cards for the delivery of food 
        stamp program benefits to comply with the requirements of 
        paragraph (2) at such time after October 1, 2002, as the 
        Secretary determines that a practicable technological method is 
        available for interoperability with electronic benefit transfer 
        cards.
        ``(6) Funding.--
            ``(A) In general.--In accordance with regulations 
        promulgated by the Secretary, the Secretary shall pay 100 
        percent of the costs incurred by a State agency under this Act 
        for switching and settling interstate transactions--
                ``(i) incurred after the date of enactment of this 
            subsection and before October 1, 2002, if the State agency 
            uses the standard of interoperability and portability 
            adopted by a majority of State agencies; and
                ``(ii) incurred after September 30, 2002, if the State 
            agency uses the uniform national standard of 
            interoperability and portability adopted under paragraph 
            (4)(A).
            ``(B) Limitation.--The total amount paid to State agencies 
        for each fiscal year under subparagraph (A) shall not exceed 
        $500,000.''.
SEC. 4. STUDY OF ALTERNATIVES FOR HANDLING ELECTRONIC BENEFIT 
TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING FOOD STAMP BENEFITS.
    Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
Secretary of Agriculture shall study and report to the Committee on 
Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate on alternatives for 
handling interstate electronic benefit transactions involving food 
stamp benefits provided under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2011 
et seq.), including the feasibility and desirability of a single hub 
for switching (as defined in section 7(k)(1) of that Act (as added by 
section 3)).

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.

Pages: 1

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