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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, March 15, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On Wednesday, the nonpartisan legislative auditor released a report looking into Minnesota's Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP). The report was in response to a news report last year that claimed CCAP fraud in Minnesota amounts to $100 million or more annually and that some of that money was going to fund terrorist activities overseas.

In their report, the OLA revealed that they cannot substantiate the $100 million claim, but they believe the extent of fraud in the program is larger than the $5-$6 million in restitution payments ordered in prosecuted cases thus far.

Further, investigators were unable to establish any direct connection between CCAP fraud and funds going to terrorist organizations.

The OLA also expressed concern regarding a lack of trust between the Department of Human Services’ Inspector General and CCAP investigators at the department. The Inspector General is tasked with managing financial fraud and abuse investigations at the department.

Such a disconnect between the inspector general and the folks tasked with investigating fraud is extremely concerning and raises questions about an internal commitment to rooting out fraud.

There are two main takeaways I took from the report:

  1. There is widespread agreement that there is a substantial amount of fraud in the CCAP program. Fraud and waste in our public programs is unacceptable, and it's clear that DHS has not done enough to stop fraudulent activity from happening.
  2. We need to take action this session to improve program integrity, and put systems in place to catch and eliminate fraud. House Republicans have several proposals that would improve program integrity and root out fraud. I strongly urge House Democrats to give these bills hearings.

Green New Deal Comes to Minnesota

This week, House Democrats heard legislation in committee that would mandate that 100 percent of the state's electricity be produced from "clean" energy sources by 2050.

I have serious concerns that this bill will increase the prices Minnesota consumers pay for electricity, which are already above the national average and will decrease the reliability of the state’s electrical grid, especially during times of extreme cold and hot weather.

Renewable energy is an important piece of our energy portfolio, but such a vast mandate is the wrong way forward. 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. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding a matter related to state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-6746 or via email at rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn.

Have a great weekend,

Sondra

 

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