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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Congratulations to the Princeton Boys Basketball team for their 4th place finish in the state tournament. It has been a joy to follow your run through the sectional playoffs and appearance in the state tournament. Thanks for a great season and for making our community proud! Way to go!

 

Fighting CCAP Fraud

On Monday, House Republicans unveiled a package of proposals to combat fraud within Minnesota’s Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP).

This proposal is in response to an investigative report by the nonpartisan legislative auditor that found widespread fraud in the program.

Our legislative package contains nearly 50 changes to state law and includes a dozen proposal from Democrats. Here are the key goals of the package:

  1. Increased consequences for committing fraud: Increase penalties and consequences for committing fraud to send a strong message to fraudsters that the state will not tolerate this criminal behavior.
  2. Provider Controls: Provide better controls on the front end to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place. Simply put, it is too easy for those who want to do wrong to defraud Minnesota taxpayers.
  3. Investigations & Prosecutions: Give additional tools to investigators to aid in their investigations, and to prosecutors to ensure fraudsters are brought to justice.
  4. Eligibility Reforms: Eliminate eligibility for those found to have committed fraud, require enhanced eligibility checks from the Department of Human Services, and direct savings from eligibility checks to the Health Care Access Fund.
  5. Oversight: The legislative auditor recommended that the Office of Inspector General become an independent entity. The proposal includes that recommendation.

It’s clear that fraud is a serious problem that demands solutions from lawmakers and I remain as committed as ever to rooting out fraud and ensuring that your tax dollars are used wisely and efficiently.

I urge Democrats to join us in this fight and to drop their plans to raise taxes. Simply put, it is absurd to think they want to raise taxes by billions of dollars when we have millions of waste, fraud, and abuse in our public programs.

Minnesota taxpayers deserve better.

PUC Rejects Governor Walz Line 3 Appeal

On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission voted to deny the Walz administration's petition to reconsider the certificate of need for the Line 3 replacement pipeline. This is the third unanimous vote the PUC has taken to uphold the certificate of need decision. Governor Walz must now decide whether he will appeal, and continue the state's legal efforts to challenge the Line 3 replacement project.

This is great news for the safety and security of communities in northern Minnesota that need this replacement pipeline to be built.

I hope that this political games from the Walz administration end soon and that this pipeline can finally move forward—it is long overdue.

House Re-Approves Snow Day Forgiveness Legislation

On Thursday, the House approved the snow day forgiveness legislation’s conference committee report. The bill will now make its way to Governor Walz for his signature.

Thanks to the snowiest winter in recent memory, schools across the state had to cancel several days this year due to inclement weather. Schools typically have to make up snow days in order to receive expected state funding.

Some schools canceled as many as ten or more days this year due to weather—leaving these schools in a difficult position as it relates to make up days. It’s simply unrealistic to expect schools to be in session until the middle of June.

The bill that was approved on Thursday, would make financially whole those schools, programs, and employees for revenue not generated if a snow or cold weather day is not made up at another point in the school calendar.

I served on the conference committee and am pleased with the outcome. This was the right thing to do considering the unusual circumstances.

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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