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Amended technical commerce bill includes funding for increased fraud investigators

A bill that left the House as a Commerce Department technical bill returned with provisions and appropriations coming from a conference committee.

The bill includes the technical changes passed by the House earlier in the week as well as appropriations and provisions agreed to by omnibus commerce bill sponsors Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) and Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls).  

Amended by the Senate and passed unanimously late Sunday, HF3255 was then repassed 70-64 by the House.

Much of the supplemental budget appropriations — $870,000 — would be used for five new staff in the Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau. 

It would also expand the bureau’s jurisdiction to include financial crimes outside of insurance fraud, such as wage theft.

There is also a onetime $522,000 appropriation for the Commerce Department to “establish a library of equipment to combat automobile-related theft offenses.”

The bill includes a provision that would allow people to go through a pre-licensing application process to let them know if a criminal background check would disqualify them for a license before they go through – and pay for – any training.

There are also Commerce Department and industry agreements around collateral pledged by insurers to federal home loan banks and a provision specifying automakers may put reasonable requirements on dealers for sales and service of alternative fuel vehicles.


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