Bill to simplify California food stamp eligibility signed into law

File: Gov. Jerry Brown
File: Gov. Jerry Brown
Max Whittaker/Getty Images

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill intended to simplify eligibility for California's food stamp program. 

SB 672, also known as the Anti-Hunger Act, was introduced by Democratic state Senator Mark Leno (D-Palo Alto). U.S. Democratic Assembly member Mark Stone, who presented the bill, said that until now only half of eligible Californians participated in the CalFresh food stamp program because of the complex paperwork. California has had the lowest food stamp participation rate in the country.

The relatively short bill calls for simplifying the verification process to show child care expenses:

 The guidance shall establish that dependent care expenses shall be considered verified upon receipt of a self-certified statement of monthly dependent care expenses, unless federal law or guidance requires additional documentation.

It does not take power away from individual counties to ask for additional documentation if it's believed that information they receive from those applying for food stamps is questionable.

Opponents say the bill opens the way for more fraud, but Stone says that isn't the case.

"There are flags that would be there in order to allow a case worker to follow up," Stone told KPCC's AirTalk last month.

CalFresh is required to adopt new regulations implementing the bill by Jan. 1, 2015.