Top Democrats in the Minnesota House say Senate Republicans “jumped the gun” by holding hearings on the turmoil in the state Human Services Department when that agency’s new commissioner, Jodi Harpstead, had only been on the job one day. House D-F-L Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says, “We *are* going to have hearings about the Department of Human Services. Senate Republicans jumped out early at a time when the new commissioner hadn’t even had a chance to learn what was going on. I don’t think those hearings were of any value.”
House Republicans want hearings during October’s “mini session” in Winona. Winkler responds there are other important issues as well, such as the high cost of insulin and other prescription drugs.
And top House Democrats don’t seem particularly hot on an idea floated by Republicans in the Senate — to break the troubled state Human Services Department, Minnesota’s largest state agency, into smaller units. House D-F-L Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says the department’s new leadership must first have a chance to figure out the best way to run that agency. “Legislators throwing out ideas about how to break it up are just playing around,” Winkler said. “They’re not really doing the serious work it takes to figure out how these agencies should work well, and that’s what Minnesotans should expect of us. But Republican Senator Rich Draheim from Madison Lake argues recent failures at the state Human Services Department underscore the importance of splitting that agency into smaller components.