Over the course of the last few weeks, I have detailed findings from an investigation by the nonpartisan legislative auditor that revealed widespread fraud within Minnesota’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP).
While the investigation could not substantiate explosive claims that $100 million in fraud was occurring within the program, it did reveal that fraud is likely much higher than the $5-6 million worth that has been prosecuted over the years.
In response to the report, House Republicans unveiled a comprehensive bill this week to combat fraud in Minnesota's childcare assistance program. In total, the proposal includes nearly 50 changes to state law—all of which will help prevent fraud.
The bill increases consequences for committing fraud, enhances provider controls to improve program integrity on the front end, gives investigators and prosecutors additional tools to find and prosecute fraud, makes reforms to eligibility across CCAP and other public programs, and improves oversight by making the Office of Inspector General an independent entity—a recommendation from the Legislative Auditor.
It’s clear that the state has a serious issue with fraud, waste, and abuse in our public programs. I strongly urge Democrats to join us and take this problem seriously. Any discussion from Governor Walz and Democrats to raise taxes on Minnesotans should end until we get this fraud problem under control.
Minnesota taxpayers deserve better.
Public Utilities Commission Rejects Walz Line 3 Obstruction
On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission voted to deny the Walz administration's petition to reconsider the certificate of need for the Line 3 replacement pipeline. This is the third unanimous vote the PUC has taken to uphold the certificate of need decision. Governor Walz must now decide whether he will appeal, and continue the state's legal efforts to challenge the Line 3 replacement project.
This is great news for the safety and security of communities in northern Minnesota that need this replacement pipeline to be built.
I hope that the political games from the Walz administration end soon and that this pipeline can finally move forward—it is long overdue.
Bill to Fund Agricultural Centers of Excellence Heard in Committee
On Thursday, legislation I am authoring that provides funding for Ag education received a hearing in the House Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division.
House File 2690 provides grant dollars to the Minnesota State system’s Agricultural Centers of Excellence at Central Lakes College in Staples and South Central College in Mankato.
The programs at both of these schools do an outstanding job preparing the next generation of Minnesota farmers. This funding will help ensure that both of these programs remain viable as they continue to educate Minnesota students.
Staying in Touch
That’s all for this week’s update. I will have more for you as the session progresses as it’s sure to be a busy year. In the meantime, I urge you to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5356 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a good weekend,