The legislative session is in its final days, and we will work through the weekend as our May 21st adjournment deadline nears. We are continuing negotiations with the Senate and Governor, and will be working out final details on the major packages in the coming days. Meanwhile, we have continued sending single-subject bills to the governor for his action. I will be sure to follow up with another update when I can provide you with more concrete information.
A shocking report recently revealed upwards of $100 million of state childcare subsidies being allocated to fraudulent childcare facilities, and then funneled overseas – possibly ending up in the hands of terrorist organizations. In the days following this report, I have received countless calls and emails from people who are rightfully outraged with this level of fraud at the expense of our state’s taxpayers.
In response to this concerning report, House Republicans unveiled legislation to prevent childcare fraud and ensure fraudulent public program dollars aren’t sent to countries on the US State Department travel ban list. Here are the highlights of the proposal:
Additionally, on the House floor on Tuesday, I successfully offered an amendment to a bill to mandate DHS take money from its existing budget and allocate it for training for childcare licensing agencies to identify and prevent fraud in the child care assistance program.
I remain deeply troubled that nearly $100 million dollars per year have been fraudulently billed to the state of Minnesota. This breach of public trust indicates that DHS has failed in its duty to protect Minnesota taxpayers, and ensure childcare assistance dollars are going to those who truly need it to afford childcare. This bill starts the conversation as the legislature now intends to prevent future cases of fraud and hold DHS accountable.
Unfortunately, the widespread fraud of childcare assistance funds is just the latest in a series of blunders by the Dayton Administration’s state agencies. This repeated pattern is highlighted by complications with MNsure’s rollout; MN IT Services’ failed handling of MNLARS; and the inability of DHS to accurately bill tens of thousands of MNcare enrollees. Failures such as these demonstrate the lack of accountability within this administration, and each instance of mismanagement has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Simply stated, Minnesotans have grown frustrated with this administration’s inability to effectively provide services through taxpayer-funded government programs.
Athletic Trainer Bill
Yesterday, the governor signed into law my bill to modify the licensure of athletic trainers in Minnesota. This new law continues the current Minnesota Board of Medical Practice oversight of athletic training in Minnesota, but would shift athletic trainers from a registration system to a licensure system. Moving to licensure requires new applicants to undergo criminal background checks in order to receive licenses – which will better protect the public. I have spent six years working on this legislation, so I am thrilled to finally see it signed into law. Thank again to the many athletic trainers that helped with this bill along the way!
Transportation Constitutional Amendment
On the House floor yesterday we approved a bill to allow us to build on the historic transportation investments made last session. It does so by asking voters if the state should constitutionally dedicate existing sales tax revenue from auto parts to fund statewide road and bridge construction. Minnesota already has enough tax dollars to fund road improvements without raising taxes as long as we make it the priority we all agree it is. Transportation makes up less than 1 percent of the state General Fund budget and this would ensure tax dollars already paid when we purchase auto parts are used to support roads and bridges.
The House on Monday approved an $825 million bonding bill to fund construction projects throughout the state. More than two-thirds of the bonding is dedicated to bricks-and-mortar projects, such as roads and bridges, water infrastructure and statewide asset preservation. The bill also features a component to use excess reserves from the Vikings stadium account to fund construction of veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston. I was happy to vote for this infrastructure-heavy package, which prioritizes local infrastructure needs; is geographically balanced; remains responsible in its overall spending; and will help create jobs for Minnesotans around the state.
Stay In Touch
As always, please feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions or concerns on issues that will be coming before me in the final days of session. I can be reached via phone at 651-296-3201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I truly represent the best!