Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Earlier this week, the State Auditor released a report on Volunteer Fire Relief Associations that said that the investments and finances of Minnesota volunteer fire relief associations are in good shape, but raises some concerns about volunteer firefighter health because of the over 100% increase in survivor and disability payments to firefighters. I think we can all agree that our volunteer firefighters are vital to our communities, and I hope that the State Auditor will continue to monitor this increase and alert the Legislature if she believes more must be done to protect them.
On Wednesday, the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released their report on CCAP fraud. The report confirmed that there is fraud within the CCAP program and that DHS is not doing enough to stop it. According to DHS records, one couple took in $3 million in CCAP funds in only ten months. The OLA also found that there was conflict between the Department of Human Services Inspector General and her own investigators who were working on this investigation. The DHS commissioner needs to change the status quo and eliminate the toxic working relationship with the investigators.
The OLA report recommended that the Legislature “establish in law an [independent] Inspector General for Human Services.” At the beginning of the legislative session, I introduced HF 445, a bill that would turn the Office of the Inspector General into a separate agency to ensure that it has the necessary independence to complete its investigations, ensuring that the Inspector General does not report to the same agency it investigates. There have also been other bills introduced by House Republicans that would also address concerns brought up in the OLA report, but none of those bills have received a hearing so far.
As I mentioned in last week’s update, I will be speaking about it on a panel at the United Nations on March 18th about the practice of female genital mutilation in the United States. My bill on banning FGM in the US is sitting in the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Division, and has still not received a hearing.
Please Contact Me
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any issue related to state government, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached via phone at 651-296-3201 or by email at email@example.com.
It’s an honor to represent the best!