Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (11/19/1999)

Electronic Benefit Transfer Interoperability and Portability Act of 1999 - Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to provide for a national standard of interoperability and portability applicable to electronic food stamp benefit transactions. Requires systems that provide for the electronic issuance, use, and redemption of coupons in the form of electronic benefit transfer cards to be interoperable, and food stamp benefits to be made portable, among all States not later than October 1, 2002. States that such costs shall not be borne by participating wholesale or retail food concerns.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate regulations that: (1) adopt a national standard based upon a standard used by the majority of States; and (2) require any electronic benefit transfer contract (as defined by this Act) entered into 30 days or more after promulgation of such regulations be in accordance with the national standard. Authorizes the Secretary to provide a requesting State with a temporary deadline waiver based upon unusual technological barriers. Directs the Secretary to allow a State using a smart card food stamp delivery system to continue such system until a technological method is available for electronic benefit transfer card interoperability.

Sets forth the conditions for full Federal payment of State switching costs, including annual fiscal year caps.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study of alternatives for handling food stamp benefit electronic transactions, including use of a single switching hub.