Greetings from the Capitol! Before the weekend, here is an update with some of the latest news from St. Paul.
Stop Female Genital Mutilation Day
I started out the week by participating in Stop Female Genital Mutilation Day at the Capitol. This event featured multiple survivors of female genital mutilation sharing their horrific stories about this barbaric practice. I had the opportunity to speak at the event and reaffirm my commitment to protecting young girls and putting an end to these crimes. I authored a bill last session to punish parents who force their children to have these procedures done. This remains a top priority of mine and I will keep you informed of its status.
Buffer Fine Proposal
Last week, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) introduced an extreme proposal that would have fined farmers out of compliance with our state’s buffer law up to $500 per linear foot. This outrageous penalty could have ended up costing farmers thousands of dollars annually for being just a few feet out of compliance across their entire property. Due largely to public outcry from farmers statewide, BWSR fortunately rescinded the proposal yesterday afternoon. Thanks to all of you that took the time to make sure your voices were heard.
I was firmly opposed to these excessive penalties and was disappointed to learn of the proposal, which would have placed an unnecessary burden on Minnesota agriculture. Our farmers are among our state’s best stewards of the land, and it is important going forward that they are able to weigh in and have their interests considered prior to state agencies putting forth such significant proposals.
SNAP Asset Testing Bill
A bill working its way through the process this year would bring asset testing to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps. The goal of the bill is to make sure people who need assistance are receiving it, without forcing taxpayers to provide funding for assistance to those that are not in need. The intention of the bill is not to kick anyone in need off of SNAP.
No asset testing currently takes place, which literally means wealthy citizens can legally receive food stamps. In fact, one millionaire who is advocating for asset testing successfully applied for food stamps just to prove the point. He testified in our committee hearing this week and was undeservedly chastised by Democrats on the committee. On the other hand, I applauded him for bringing before the legislature a real experience of the costly problems with this system. Having a real account of this loophole is extremely helpful to lawmakers as we can now use it to aid us in implementing commonsense reforms for the broken system.
From 2014-2016, the Department of Health Services failed to accurately bill tens of thousands of MNCare enrollees. The exact amount of uncollected premiums is estimated to be nearly $32 million dollars. This is $32 million in taxpayer money that could be used for much need government services that is now out the window as a result of government incompetence and inefficiency. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to advocate for MNCare for all, a drastic expansion of the system. Given this recently reported blunder, I am strongly opposed to using more taxpayer money to expand an already ineffective insurance enrollment system.
Stay In Touch
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me at either 651-296-3201 or email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
I truly represent the best!