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

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to a close as students, teachers, and parents prepare for the start of the school year. Our teachers do an outstanding job preparing our youth for the future and help make our communities stronger. To all the students, families, teachers, school staff and volunteers—have a wonderful, safe, and happy school year!

Chaos at DHS

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has been in the news for most of the summer as they deal with a number of issues including the abrupt resignations of four top officials, allegations of retaliation against employees, and at least two instances of impermissible payments totaling $73 million.

The dysfunction and chaos at DHS have reached a fever-pitch with troubling news emerging almost daily.

Health and Human Services represent the largest portion of the state’s budget totaling $17 billion every two years. The agency is responsible for administering programs like Medicaid, MinnesotaCare, the Childcare Assistance Fund, MFIB, and SNAP.

The leadership turnover and chaos at DHS has real-world consequences for folks that depend on public programs as well as each and every taxpayer in Minnesota.

Just this week, I joined House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt in sending letters urging Speaker Melissa Hortman to hold interim hearings on the problems at DHS as soon as possible. It is important that my colleagues and I have the opportunity to directly question DHS officials on the scandals that have plagued the agency this summer. An upcoming House mini-session scheduled for early October should also provide an opportunity to show Minnesotans that we are taking this issue seriously.

As long as I am your representative, I will continue to work hard to ensure that your tax dollars are being used wisely and efficiently and to hold bureaucrats accountable for their actions.

Stay tuned for more information on DHS in the weeks and months ahead.

Walleye Fishing to Close on Mille Lacs

It was announced this week that the Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing season will end on Friday, September 6th.

DNR stated that the closure was due in large part to high angling pressure and catch rates in July and August when warm water increased hooking mortality and resulted in a larger-than-expected walleye kill.

I remain concerned about anglers having to account for the hooking mortality of walleye when the only floaters I have seen when I fished the lake were Tullibee. Despite this disappointing news, I urge folks to continue to use the lake to fish for other species and to patronize businesses around the lake as we look to continue to strengthen our local economy.

The DNR this year allowed anglers to keep one walleye through May 31 before it returned to catch-and-release-only walleye fishing. It was the first time since 2015 that Mille Lacs anglers could keep a walleye during the open-water season.

In the future, it is important that the DNR re-examine the policy on hooking mortality. Instead of focusing so intently on mortality, the DNR should focus on allowing anglers to keep at least a portion of the walleyes hooked. It is more logical for anglers to keep a walleye than to count it later as dead.

Staying in Touch

Please continue to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns 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 Labor Day weekend,

Sondra

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