It’s been another busy week in St. Paul with the first committee deadline today, Friday. With thousands of bills introduced each session, committee deadlines whittle the number down to a manageable size. Each deadline forces the House and Senate to act on or dispense with bills in their committee of origin. Bills that don’t make it past deadline are shelved for the rest of the session.
I had two bills heard in committee this week.
The first, House File 1421, was heard in the Public Safety Committee. This bill expands closed captioning requirements for emergency broadcast information, Department of Public Safety traffic regulation public service announcements, and provides a grant for a closed captioning public awareness campaign.
This bill was brought to me by a constituent who is a member of the Board of the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf, Blind and Hard-of-Hearing. The proposal has also been included in the Commission on Deaf, Blind and Hard-of-Hearing’s five-year plan.
The second bill was House File 520. This bill was heard in the Capital Investment Committee and provides funding for a badly needed roof replacement at South Central College in Faribault.
CCAP Audit Report Released
On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Legislative Auditor released their much-anticipated report on fraud in the state’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP).
While the auditor was unable to specifically place a dollar amount on the fraud that is taking place, the report did reveal that there is widespread agreement at the Department of Human Services (DHS) that there is a substantial amount of fraud in the CCAP program.
Any amount of fraud is unacceptable and I am very concerned by the lack of urgency from officials at DHS in addressing fraud in our public programs.
We have several proposals that would improve program integrity and I hope that the DFL majority will take this problem seriously and give these bills hearings so we can more easily root out and eliminate fraud.
You can read the audit report here.
Green New Deal Comes to Minnesota
This past week, Democrats heard legislation that mandates that 100 percent of the state's electricity be produced from "clean" energy sources by 2050. While I am in favor of pursuing “clean” energy, the reality is that that this specific proposal will increase the prices Minnesota consumers pay for electricity, which are already above the national average and will decrease the reliability of the regional electrical grid, especially during times of extreme cold and hot weather.
Renewable energy is an important piece of our energy portfolio, but these mandates will drive up costs and threaten the reliability of our energy grid especially during polar vortexes and cold-snaps. We need an 'all-of-the-above' strategy that ensures energy bills are affordable and our energy grid is reliable.
Staying in Touch
That’s all for this week’s update. Please be sure to contact me to share any questions or concerns you may have about anything related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-8237 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be great to speak with you!
Have a great weekend,