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Human services panel advances bill expanding data use by DHS

Allowing the Department of Human Services to use unemployment data for decision making received overwhelming support.

The House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee approved HF3269 on an 18-0 vote Thursday and referred it to the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee.

The bill, which has no Senate companion, would expand the state’s commitment to data-informed approaches, said sponsor Rep. Jessica Hanson (DFL-Burnsville).

Currently, the department can use wage information from the Department of Employment and Economic Development for the Minnesota Family Investment Program. The data helps Human Services Department staff better understand the labor market and people who use the program. The proposed change would allow the agency to also use data from other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, general assistance, supplemental aid and housing support.

“Having a clear understanding of employment patterns allows the state to understand the barriers and opportunities to ultimately employ the tools necessary to move more families and children out of poverty,” Hanson said.

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