Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2018 legislative session is in its last days, and legislators plan to work through the weekend as our May 21st adjournment deadline nears. We are continuing negotiations with the Senate and Governor, and in the coming days will be working to find compromise on the final details of the large omnibus bills. In the meantime, we have continued approving single-subject bills to send the governor for his approval. I will be sure to follow up with another update when I can provide you with more concrete information.
On an unrelated note, Sunday night a report aired revealing 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 in our area who are rightfully outraged with this fraud at the expense of our state’s taxpayers.
In response to this concerning report, House Republicans yesterday 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:
- Allows Department of Human Services (DHS) to use “Immediate Temporary Suspensions” to close childcare providers that do not fully cooperate with investigators if they are suspected of fraud.
- Creates criminal and civil penalties for those who transfer fraudulent public program funds to countries on the US State Department travel ban list.
- Creates increased fraud prevention measures in public programs including Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and other welfare programs.
- Directs the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) to investigate CCAP.
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.
Staying in Touch
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns that you might have on any of the issues that will be coming before me on the House floor in the final days of session. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-8635.