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Legislative Audit Commission
Topic Selection Subcommittee


February 27, 2008

Members Present:

Representative Sondra Erickson    Senator Don Betzold
Representative Rick Hansen Senator David Hann
Representative Aaron Peterson Senator James Metzen
Representative Steve Simon Senator Ann Rest

Members Absent:

Representative Michael Beard    Senator Joe Gimse
Representative Connie Ruth Senator Claire Robling


The Topic Selection Subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission meeting was called to order by Senator Ann Rest, Chair, at 8:46 a.m.

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said that the purpose of the meeting was to review the list of evaluation topics suggested by legislators and others.  A list of 10 – 12 topics would become “semi-finalists” that would later be narrowed down to a final list to present to the full Legislative Audit Commission.  He said that shortly after this meeting, a survey would be sent to legislators to determine their interest in the “semi-finalist” topics.  He reminded members of two evaluations currently underway—charter schools and the claims review process for workers’ compensation.  He also said that OLA staff would begin drafting background papers on the list that the subcommittee would decide on today.

Mr. Nobles told the subcommittee that the selection of topics is a very important decision.  Senator Rest asked Mr. Nobles to suggest topics from each category that the subcommittee should consider.  Joel Alter, Program Evaluation Manager, gave a brief description of several of the topics under each category.  There were subcommittee discussions on several of the issues.  It was decided to make the topic on the Wakota Bridge an investigation rather than a program evaluation because of the nature of the issues and the fact that many sworn statements would be needed to answer the questions.  Representative Hansen asked to add a topic on Capitol Complex Security to the list.  There have been concerns about whether Minnesota’s security is adequate, and how Minnesota’s security compares with other states.  Senator Robling said she had received a letter from Senator Stumpf on Q-Comp (Alternative Teacher Compensation) and thought it should be added to the list.  A Q-Comp evaluation could examine how this program has been implemented in Minnesota school districts and whether it has had the intended effects. 

Senator Rest asked each subcommittee member present to go through the list and name their top choices to be on the “semi-finalist” list.  The topics with the most interest were chosen.

The topics selected by the subcommittee for further consideration included:

Standardized Student Testing
Personal Care Attendant Program
Adult Protective Services
Enforcement of Vehicle Size & Weight Restrictions
MnSCU’s Occupational Programs
MINNCOR (Prison Industries Program)
Sentences for Controlled Substances
Ethanol Subsidies
Helping Communities Recover from Disasters
E-Verify (Employment Eligibility Verification Program)
Capitol Complex Security
Q-Comp (Alternative Teacher Compensation)

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 a.m.

Senator Ann H. Rest, Chair

Shelly Watterud, Recording Secretary



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