Today the House is taking up the Health and Human Services Finance bill, the last of the 11 major agency finance bills. Yesterday, we worked well into the evening on the jobs and energy and the state government finance bills.
The jobs and energy bill (S.F. 1937) continues our effort to provide cleaner and less expensive energy resources. We also focus on job creation through worker training programs and by freeing our businesses from unnecessary regulation and red tape.
- Support for vocational training for students wanting to enter the trades.
- Reduces energy costs to consumers by reducing and streamlining the regulation process for energy providers.
- Reforms the Public Utility Commission process for issuing permits for construction of pipelines.
- Reinvests funds from ineffective programs into clean energy programs that benefit communities around our state.
- Encourages infrastructure construction by reducing fees on construction-related permits and inspections.
- Working to return over $700 million in unclaimed property back to Minnesotans.
- Provides assistance to homeless families with children for housing.
- Funds job training programs for veterans reentering the civilian workforce after service.
The House also approved a state government finance bill (S.F. 605) which prioritizes veterans, increases accountability and transparency, and reforms state government including;
- Provide housing for homeless veterans and educates our courts on dealing with veterans suffering from PTSD;
- Expands the GI Bill to include apprenticeships and on-the-job training benefits;
- Protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
- Prioritize funding for those with disabilities;
- Establish a first time home buyer savings account at the Department of Revenue;
- Ends governor’s discretion to hand out fat severance packages to state agency commissioners and other political appointees;
- Reforms the seriously flawed Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.
We are also closely monitoring a gainsharing award program that provides a bonus to state employees for implementing new efficiencies and cost savings. The program is under scrutiny because of a failure to actually document the savings achieved as required under law.
To date, about $6.7 million in payments have been made. The non-partisan Office of the Legislative Auditor has opened an investigation into the gainsharing program.
Looks like we have a great weekend coming up, please be stay safe.