Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope your 2019 is off to a great start. Tuesday was the first day of the new legislative session, and it was exciting to again take oath of office as I was sworn in to another term as a state representative. The oath of office is a great reminder of the incredible privilege that serving our community in the legislature affords. I am grateful for all your support and for everyone who has placed their trust in me to continue advocating for your priorities at the Capitol.
With one of my awesome volunteers, Matt Kawlewski, on the House floor during the swearing-in ceremony.
Committee Structure Change
The first action of the new Democrat majority in the House was to create a committee structure that takes away the legislature’s transparency by making it harder for the public to track bills and know what’s going on. This new structure sets the table for moving bills through the process with little to no warning, giving citizens and the public less than 24 hours notice of when a bill hearing is to take place.
This move will allow Democrats to push their liberal, metro-centric agenda through the legislature without much notice to hardworking Minnesotans around the state. The change is especially problematic for people in rural parts of the state – like ours – who need fair warning to get to St. Paul for a legislative hearing. Of course, this is no problem to the Democrats, whose radical, activist supporters all live in the twin cities.
This rule change also means that a lot of power is consolidated in one powerful committee chair, who can simply move bills around from committee to committee. This will surely result in far less actual votes taking place on bills. This means the public won’t know how their legislators are voting or where they stand on issues, making the legislature less transparent and open to the people of Minnesota. The committee process allows for public involvement at bill hearings, and it’s a shame that this move will hide bill movements and votes, and keep the public out of the loop.
There will be a lot of very impactful bills affecting a lot of Minnesotans coming before the legislature this year, so I will do my best to keep you updated on the happenings at the Capitol.
The fraud of Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) funds continues to be a major problem facing our state. At the end of last year’s legislative session, a troubling report came out revealing upwards of $100 million of these funds being allocated to fraudulent childcare facilities – and possibly ending up overseas in the hands of terrorist groups. This fraud comes at the expense of Minnesota taxpayers and is an unacceptable breach of public trust.
To make matters worse, the Department of Human Services – the agency that administers these funds – seems to be in denial that this fraud is happening. I have submitted several data practice requests to DHS to get a better grasp of the fraud, but they continue to stonewall my access and avoid providing any real information on the matter.
At the end of January, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor will issue its report on the fraud, which will give us a better idea of the size of it as well as where the funds are ending up. I am hopeful that with this information we can work to quickly put an end to this fraud and put forth effective solutions. In the coming weeks, I’ll be introducing bills to crack down on this fraud, prevent it in the future, and ensure childcare assistance dollars are going to those who truly need it – not fraudsters and terrorists.
Please Contact Me
Things will really get going at the legislature next week, and I would like to encourage you to contact me with your thoughts and questions on any legislative topic. I can be reached any time by phone at 651-296-3201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I truly represent the best!