Basic skills bill signed!
Governor Dayton Wednesday signed the bill to require teaching candidates pass the basic skills exam before getting their teaching license. The bill passed with nearly unanimious support. http://www.bringmethenews.com/290890/. The link between education reform and a strong economy was spelled out well last week in two newspaper editorials. http://www.minnesotahousegop.com/reformblog/2012/2/20/the-link-between-education-reform-and-a-stronger-economy.html
This week the Health and Human Services Reform committee passed three bills pertaining to welfare reform. These bills make modification to the Minnesota Families Investment Program (MFIP) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards.
Last year GOP lawmakers started with the goal to improve welfare reform, they made major strides last year. This included helping taxpayers by prohibiting the purchase of alcohol and tobacco with EBT cards and ensuring the fraudulent use of a card will result in loss of benefits, which in return will cut down on persistent cheating.
The first bill this year, HF 1956 https://www.revisor.mn.gov/revisor/pages/search_status/status_detail.php?b=House&f=HF1956&ssn=0&y=2012, will require that offenders possessing multiple welfare EBT cards be reported by law enforcement departments to the commissioner of human services. Enforcing this bill will cut down on fraudulent use of the card and persistent cheating.
The second bill, HF 2080 http://www.minnesotahousegop.com/billtracker/2012/1/24/hf-2080-hf-2081.html, modifies the MFIP program by:
- Reducing the maximum time limit from 60 months to 36 months.
- Reducing the income maximum from 115 percent to 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Disqualifying persons convicted of a drug offense within the past ten years.
- Requiring criminal history background studies at the time of application and recertification to determine if an applicant or participant has been convicted of a drug or other disqualifying offense.
- Modifies approvals to reduce the number of approvals for noncompliance a participant receives before the MFIP case is closed.
The modifications to the MFIP will improve the system to help those who need the assistance and eliminate those who abuse the system.
The last bill, HF 2081 http://www.minnesotahousegop.com/billtracker/2012/1/24/hf-2080-hf-2081.html, makes a technical correction to the statute, passed last year, which requires a recipient’s name on their EBT card to ensure the person receiving the card is the one using it.
The work done by the legislature last year helped to improve the welfare program. This year the GOP lawmakers hope to continue the changes needed for these programs. These three bills will help to continue the process and the state of Minnesota in preserving the integrity of the welfare programs.
What members are saying
Representative Duane Quam http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/pressrelease.asp?pressid=5418&party=2&memid=15366
This week, the bulk of our time in the Minnesota House was spent hearing Reform 2.0 bills in committee. As of last week, 37 bills have been introduced from the Reform 2.0 agenda, 23 bills have received hearings, and a total of 34 hearings have been held. Six bills have passed the Minnesota House - all with bipartisan support; and four have been vetoed by Governor Dayton.
This week's committee hearings centered on rulemaking moratorium and other rulemaking reforms, online/digital learning in schools, and tackling welfare reform.
Representative Kelby Woodard
A key issue we currently are working on at the Capitol is the much-needed reform of our commercial property tax system. This is the only statewide property tax in existence and has been a key factor in limiting the competitiveness of our local businesses.
The nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently ranked our state 45th worst in its State Business Tax Climate Index for 2012. The report pointed to our complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates as key factors in our poor business climate. The good news is that we are committed to the proven reforms that will improve our business climate in Minnesota. I believe the phase-out of this tax is far more effective than short-term or one-time tax incentives that most entrepreneurs are reluctant to embrace.
Bill Tracker – A sampling of Reform 2.0 bills moving thru the Legislature.
Conduct the first return-on-investment report for state healt care programs.
End the mandate requiring art in public buildings that drives up costs.
Bring more efficiency to the permitting process.
Require an analysis of improved public value for bills that spend money or add regulations.
Follow the Reform 2.0 Bill Tracker for the complete list. http://www.minnesotahousegop.com/billtracker/