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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tama Theis (R)

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Capitol Update from Rep. Tama Theis

Friday, March 9, 2018

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With constituents at the Capitol for Art Advocacy Day

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With students from UMD at the Capitol

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With my intern, Alex Ylitalo from Roseau, Rep. Dan Fabian and Josie Steen from Lancaster.


Dear Neighbors,

Here is an update from Saint Paul.

Budget Forecast

Last week, the February Economic Budget Forecast was released, showing our state has a $329 million surplus. This surplus, along with a number of other strong economic indicators, is credited in large part to meaningful tax relief passed at the state and federal level in the last year.

Legislators will be working this session on federal tax conformity and other measures that ensure Minnesotans can take full advantage of tax relief and keep more of their hard-earned money.


Legislators are continuing to look at what went wrong with our state’s disastrous new licensing system, MNLARS and what can be done to fix it. Taxpayers have already shelled out nearly $100 million for this failed program, and the Dayton Administration is asking for another $43 million to fix it this session, including $10 million which they say they need immediately.

House Republicans are advancing a plan that would take that first $10 million they need from existing funding within the executive branch. I think this is a commonsense solution that protects taxpayers from spending additional dollars and encourages accountability from within the administration.

Additionally, a second bill was also introduced on Thursday that would require MN.IT, the state’s information technology agency who failed in their rollout of MNLARS, to first search for commercially available software before creating anything themselves. This legislation has the strong potential to both save taxpayers money and better ensure that the state is delivering the best, and most cost-effective software solutions for citizens going forward.

Simply put, MNLARS is a mess, and folks rightly expect and deserve accountability from state government and a system that works.

OLA Audit on Vulnerable Adults

Serving on the Aging and Long-Term Care Subcommittee, the most critical issue we will be working on this year is how to address abuse and neglect in senior care facilities. This week a report came out from the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor detailing problems within the Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC), and how they failed to properly follow up on reports and allegations of abuse. From their internal management to not following up with vulnerable adults on suspected maltreatment, the failures by OHFC were significant.

We will be working this session on passing legislation to strengthen the law, ensure greater transparency and oversight of this agency, and engage stakeholders to find real and permanent solutions to this problem. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that our loved ones are always treated with dignity and respect, and to advance policies that prevent maltreatment and abuse from ever happening in the first place.

I will keep you updated as we work on this issue.


It’s an honor to be your voice at the Capitol. Have a wonderful weekend!