Beginning April 23rd, we will start hearing omnibus bills. The first three we will vote on are K-12 Education, Jobs and Energy, and Health and Human Services. Nonpartisan staff have said that the Health and Human Services omnibus is the largest omnibus bill in state history, coming in at over 1100 pages.
This week, the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor released a second report on fraud in the Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP). They found that the program controls at the Department of Human Services “are insufficient to effectively prevent, detect, and investigate fraud in Minnesota’s Child Care Assistance Program”. Even with these two reports confirming widespread fraud and very little being done to stop it, Democrats have refused to hold hearings on these reports, and have even blocked efforts to bring in the Inspector General to testify before the committees charged with overseeing the CCAP program.
Democrats have now unveiled all of their omnibus bills, which contain a total of $12,000,000,000 ($12 billion) in tax increases on Minnesotans. The tax bill itself contains just one third of those tax increases – the rest are in the transportation bill, the health and human services bill, and others. Just a few of the taxes they are looking to increase are taxes on gas, doctor visits, and car registrations.
Last week, HF 50 was passed and signed by the Governor. I voted against it, because I don’t believe the bill gets at the heart of the distracted driving issue. This bill does not end distracted driving, it only puts the distraction in hands-free mode. It still permits things like texting and interacting with social media, as long as it is done hands-free. I believe drivers should not be doing those things at all, whether they use their hands or their voice to do it. I am a coauthor of HF 104, which would prohibit using a wireless communications device to read or send messages while driving a vehicle, as well as increase the penalties for texting while driving.
Finally, the Higher Ed committee held a hearing on Argosy University closing down. My friend Courtney came to testify about her experience when the Minnesota School of Business shut down her program when she was close to graduating. Because of that, she now has to pay on loans she incurred during her enrollment there with nothing to show for it.
I want to wish you all a very happy Easter! I look forward to spending it with loved ones and reflecting on the meaning of the holiday.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
If you ever have comments, questions, 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!