With high school page, Jack Oinstad
With a group from Better Futures Minnesota
Here is an update from the Capitol.
Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority
Elected officials, political appointees and those who work in state government are meant to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and work to serve the people of our state. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) has been plagued with scandal over the past several months. As a result, both Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen and executive director Ted Mondale stepped down from their posts last week.
It started two weeks ago when the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor released their findings on the MSFA’s use of two U.S. Bank Stadium suites. They found that MSFA leadership violated core ethical principles by giving free tickets and perks to friends, family and political allies. What’s more, they found that there was no support for the claim that MSFA needed access to two suites. Finally, they concluded that they failed to comply with state law by not maintaining a record of who received tickets to the suites.
In an effort to implement needed reforms, exercise additional legislative oversight and bring accountability to the MSFA, House Republicans are advancing House File 778 this session. It passed with strong bipartisan support in committee, and I am hoping we can get it to Governor Dayton’s desk for his signature soon.
Even with reform legislation advancing and the two leaders of the MSFA quitting recently, more questions remain unanswered surrounding the MSFA including millions of dollars’ worth of contracts entered into by Kelm-Helgen and Mondale with little or no oversight.
I will continue to support measures that bring more public accountability to state government.
Better Futures Bill
Last week, I introduced House File 1168 which will appropriate a total of $850,000 for Better Futures Minnesota. This organization takes high-risk men with a history of incarceration, homelessness, poverty or mental and physical health challenges, and helps them with housing, job training, employment, health care, long-term self-sufficiency and ultimately a brighter future.
Not only does this program focus on helping a high-risk population, but they also have an excellent track record with measurable results. For men who go through the program, the recidivism rate is a mere 7 percent.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson said in support of HF 1168 that partnering with Better Futures Minnesota over the past nine years “has resulted in less homelessness, increased employment and child support payments among participants. Better Futures has consistently provided the county with measurable results and has proven to be a good use of taxpayer dollars.”
This is an important program that helps Minnesota men who are considered hard-to-employ. I am pleased my legislation has already garnered bipartisan support, and I hope it will be signed into law this year.
If you need assistance on an issue pertaining to state government, my office is available to you. You can e-mail at Rep.Marion.ONeill@House.MN or call my office at 651-296-5063. You can also write a letter to me. My office address at the Capitol is 549 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.