On Thursday, the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to approve additional funding for the state’s disaster contingency account. This account is critical to making it possible for the state to act quickly when natural disasters strike—providing aid to local communities in the event of a disaster.
The legislation was unanimously approved and puts $10 million into the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account. While $10 million is better than no additional funding, House Republicans attempted to put even more into the account via an amendment offered by Rep. Tony Jurgens.
The Jurgens amendment would have transferred $43 million into Minnesota’s disaster contingency account, $33 million more than what was offered in the underlying bill.
The need for disaster funds will be significant as communities around the state are already dealing with significant flooding while the account currently sits empty. Thanks to record snowfall this winter, even more flooding is expected this spring. Simply put, $10 million is likely not enough to cover all the costs of this spring’s flooding.
In fact, the account is currently is in the red after Minnesota responded with over $11 million in relief to just two flooding events last year in Brainerd and Duluth.
Based on the flooding we've seen this spring, additional funds will almost certainly be needed.
While I’m pleased that funding was put into this account, additional funding will likely be needed and I am concerned that it may get tied up in end-of-session politics. Minnesota communities cannot afford that.
Stay tuned on this as the session progresses.
House Republicans Unveil CCAP Reform Legislation
Monday, House Republicans unveiled a package of proposals aimed at combatting fraud, waste, and abuse in Minnesota’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP).
As you recall, last month the nonpartisan legislative auditor released a report on their investigation into fraud allegations in CCAP. While the auditor was unable to substantiate claims of $100 million in fraud, they did indicate that fraud in the program was widespread. In fact, the top fraud investigator at the Department of Human Services said in an email that he believed that CCAP fraud could be as much as $100 million.
The legislative package being put forth by House Republicans would make changes to nearly 50 state laws.
Details include increasing consequences for committing fraud, enhancing provider controls to improve program integrity on the front end, giving investigators and prosecutors additional tools to find and prosecute fraud, making reforms to eligibility across CCAP and other public programs, and improving oversight by making the Office of Inspector General an independent entity—a recommendation from the Legislative Auditor.
I urge Democrats to get serious about addressing fraud and to join us in this fight. Minnesota taxpayers deserve better.
Staying in Touch
That’s all for this week’s update. I urge you to contact me if you have any legislative questions, concerns, or ideas. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4229 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and have a good weekend,