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Human services bonding priorities set

Published (2/22/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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The House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division approved a $139.8 million bonding request Feb. 20.

HF2091, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), prioritizes the divisionís recommendations from high to medium. It now goes to the House Finance Committee.

High priority projects would include: asset preservation and safety and security for several Department of Human Servicesí treatment centers, grants to the Hennepin County Medical Center and a Native American juvenile treatment center.

Medium priority projects would include: phase two expansion of the Moose Lake Sex Offender Treatment Facility, a multi-county chemical dependency treatment facility and correctional center, Remembering with Dignity money for grave markers and memorial monuments, and renovation to Gillette Childrenís Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.

The asset preservation, safety and security upgrades to already built facilities, and repair or demolishing of buildings at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center are included in the governorís recommendations. The remainder of the projects are not.

HCMC is planning a $175 million expansion and would be appropriated $28 million from the state once $146 million has been committed to the project from nonstate sources. The monies would be used for an education learning center for training rooms and labs.

Erma Vizenor, tribal chair woman for the White Earth Reservation, said the Native American juvenile treatment center would incorporate cultural and spiritual programs to help serve juveniles from all tribes in Minnesota. A former treatment center in Bemidji is now being considered as the location, she said. Under the bill, $6 million would be available to construct the facility on or near the White Earth Reservation.

The Senate companion, SF1727, sponsored by Sen. Linda Berglin (DFL-Mpls), contains no bonding provisions. That bill was included in last yearís health and human services law.

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