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Legislative Audit Commission
Topic Selection Subcommittee


March 28, 2000

The meeting of the Topic Selection Subcommittee of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Representative Dan McElroy on Tuesday, March 28, 2000 at 1:45 P.M. in Room 300 North, State Office Building.

Members Present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau Senator Deanna Wiener
Representative Mindy Greiling
Representative Dan McElroy

Member Excused:

Senator Dave Johnson Senator Sheila Kiscaden

Representative McElroy indicated the purpose of the meeting was to review the list of possible program evaluation topics and results of a survey of legislators concerning the topics. He recognized Roger Brooks, Deputy Legislative Auditor for Program Evaluation. Mr. Brooks reviewed the list of topics and survey results. He indicated that 79 legislators had submitted surveys. When discussing the background paper on insurance coverage for mental health and chemical dependency services, Representative McElroy recognized Elliot Long, project manager in the Program Evaluation Division. Mr. Long answered questions from members concerning past studies as well as other studies in this area. Representative McElroy recognized Kathy Kosnoff, an attorney with the Minnesota Disability Law Center. Ms. Kosnoff encouraged members to select this topic and recommended that it look at how some costs for these services are being shifted to local units of government.

Members discussed the background paper on the cost of recidivism of adult offenders. Representative McElroy recognized Representative Rich Stanek. Representative Stanek distributed several case studies concerning repeat offenders to members and urged members to select this topic. Representative McElroy recognized Representative Mary Murphy. Representative Murphy also urged members to select this topic.

Members reviewed background papers on recycling, Head Start, roads projects, affordable housing, workforce training, K-12 class size, oversight of pensions, and tax-base sharing.

Members reviewed the background paper concerning the topic of the State Archaeologist and whether or not this issue should be handled by the Office of Dispute Resolution. Representative McElroy recognized Joe Day, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. Mr. Day indicated the Council was willing to work with a mediator to resolve the issues. Representative McElroy recognized David Kelliher, Executive Assistant, Minnesota Historical Society. Mr. Kelliher urged members to select this topic as the Office of Dispute Resolution was under-staffed and he felt the study would help to determine who was responsible for what. Mr. Brooks indicated that this topic could be a smaller study conducted during the late winter of 2001, after some major studies were completed.

Members reviewed the background paper on district courts. Representative McElroy indicated he has discussed this topic with Chief Justice Blaatz, who had indicated to him that she felt the study was timely and that the Court would be supportive of the study. Representative Murphy suggested that the study also look at how costs to the counties were increasing. Senator Wiener suggested the study also look at alternative methods for adjudicating cases being used around the state.

Members indicated their top five topics for possible studies. Staff of the Program Evaluation Division were directed to prepare evaluation proposals for action by the full Legislative Audit Commission on insurance for mental health and chemical dependency programs; state Head Start funding; affordable housing; district courts; cost of recidivism of adult offenders; oversight of pensions; and the State Archaeologist.

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 P.M.

Representative Dan McElroy, Chair

Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary



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