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Legislative Audit Commission


April 6, 2000

The meeting of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Representative Dan McElroy on Thursday, April 6, 2000 at 7:30 A.M. in Room 318, State Capitol.

Members Present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau    Senator William Belanger, Jr.
Representative Phil Carruthers Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Representative Chris Gerlach Senator David Knutson
Representative Mindy Greiling Senator Keith Langseth
Representative Peggy Leppik Senator Deanna Wiener
Representative Dan McElroy
Representative Wes Skoglund

Members Excused:

Representative Kris Hasskamp Senator Dave Johnson
Representative Philip Krinkie Senator James Metzen
Representative Mary Jo McGuire    Senator Thomas Neuville
Senator Ember Reichgott Junge
Senator Claire Robling

Representative McElroy indicated the purpose of the meeting was to review the evaluation topics recommended for study by the Topic Selection Subcommittee. He recognized Roger Brooks, Deputy Legislative Auditor for Program Evaluation. Mr. Brooks reviewed the list of topics, and indicated that the office had resources to complete five large studies and one small one, to be completed in the interim. He answered questions from members about the scope of each of the proposed studies. Representative McElroy indicated that staff would hold roundtable discussion groups with legislators and legislative staff to help develop the scope of each of the selected topics.

Senator Wiener moved that the Program Evaluation Division be directed to conduct evaluation studies of insurance coverage for mental health and chemical dependency services; chronic recidivism of adult offenders; early childhood programs; district courts; and affordable housing, and a study of the State Archaeologist in the interim.

There was further discussion of the scope of the projects. Concerning the study on insurance coverage for mental health and chemical dependency services, Representative Greiling asked if the study would look at data from private insurance companies. Mr. Brooks indicated that it might be difficult to get that data and that staff might need to rely on aggregate data from the Department of Health. Representative McElroy recognized Kathy Kosnoff, an attorney with the Minnesota Disability Law Center. Ms. Kosnoff indicated that several national studies found that dollars saved were not going back to the mental health system and some cost shifting had been found. She encouraged that the study look at data from sources in addition to the Department of Human Services. Representative McElroy recognized James Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles indicated that staff would attempt to get information from providers of mental health and chemical dependency services, but he was unsure of what kind of reception staff would receive.

Representative Carruthers indicated he would prefer a study of pension plan oversight, rather than one of mental health/chemical dependency services. After some discussion, Senator Wiener amended her motion to direct staff to conduct studies of chronic recidivism of adult offenders, early childhood programs, district courts, affordable housing, and the State Archaeologist (small study). Motion carried.

Representative Carruthers moved that a vote be taken on whether to direct staff to conduct a study of pension plan oversight or mental health/chemical dependency services. With 7 votes for a study of mental health/chemical dependency and 3 votes for a study of pension plan oversight, staff were directed to conduct a study of insurance coverage for mental health and chemical dependency services.

In response to a concern raised by Representative Carruthers, Representative McElroy indicated that a meeting would be set up in the near future on how staff utilize the information gathered at roundtable meetings.

Representative McElroy reported that an amendment had been introduced to the Senate version of the tax bill calling for a financial audit of the administration of the tax rebates.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 A.M.

Representative Dan McElroy, Chair

Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary



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