Text: S.1733 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 106-171 (02/11/2000)

 
[106th Congress Public Law 171]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ171.106]


[[Page 114 STAT. 3]]

Public Law 106-171
106th Congress

                                 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. <<NOTE: Feb. 11, 2000 -  [S. 1733]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Electronic 
Benefit Transfer Interoperability and Portability Act of 2000. 7 USC 
2011 note.>> 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

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

SEC. 2. PURPOSES. <<NOTE: 7 USC 2016 note.>> 

    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.

[[Page 114 STAT. 4]]

                    ``(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 <<NOTE: Deadline.>> 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 <<NOTE: Deadline. Regulations.>> 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.

[[Page 114 STAT. 5]]

            ``(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.''.

[[Page 114 STAT. 6]]

SEC. 4. STUDY <<NOTE: Deadline. Reports. 7 USC 2016 note.>> 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)).

    Approved February 11, 2000.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1733:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
                                                        Vol. 145 (1999):
                                    Nov. 19, considered and passed 
                                        Senate.
                                                        Vol. 146 (2000):
                                    Jan. 31, considered and passed 
                                        House.

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