On Monday, House Republicans unveiled legislation aimed at combatting fraud in Minnesota’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP). The legislative package is in response to a report from the nonpartisan legislative auditor that found widespread fraud in the CCAP program.
The bill contains nearly 50 changes to state law and includes provisions from 12 separate Democrat proposals. All in all, it is a comprehensive package that would make a tremendously positive impact on our public programs if it were to become law.
Details from the legislation 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.
Sadly, Democrats have done little to prove they are taking this problem seriously. In fact, they have heard just three bills on the topic, and have refused requests to hold a hearing on the Legislative Auditor report.
It's time for Democrats to show the public they are taking this issue seriously and work with us to pass meaningful reforms that will eliminate fraud and ensure Minnesotans' hard-earned tax dollars are being respected.
Disaster Relief Passes House
On Thursday, the House unanimously approved legislation that replenishes funding to the state’s disaster contingency account.
This account allocates funding to communities to help with cleanup from natural disasters. With this winter’s record snowfall, many experts are predicting substantial flooding this spring.
The bill will put $10 million into the 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 or, $33 million more than what was offered in the underlying bill.
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. Either way, $10 million is better than nothing, but I wish we could have put more funding into this account for the communities around the state that will need to access these dollars when flooding and other natural disasters take place this year.
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,