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HF 3270 Example of What Is Really Meant by Streamlining Government
By Laura Adelmann

April 6, 2002

Reprinted from Farmington and Lakeville editions of Thisweek News.

Streamlining government by centralizing power is the outcome of House File 3270, a bill that eliminates 28 state commissioners and replaces them with eight secretaries.

In addition, the bill sets up an appointed task force whose mission it is to further centralize state government as they so desire, but Išll get into that a little later.

Passage of HF 3270 was a streamlined process in itself. Public notification of the bill's existence, much less its insidious breadth, was virtually non-existent, leaving little opportunity for public comment, input or questions.

The bill, authored by Rep. Phil Krinkie, made it through two committees ­ Ways and Means and Rules and Legislative Administration ­ in an astonishingly rapid one-day period, March 20. Without missing a beat it was passed by the House the following day.

Because the bill had no Senate companion, this stunning restructuring of state government was never, nor will it ever be, debated in any Senate committee. Instead, HF 3270 will be included part of the larger state budget negotiating process.

If passed, the eight secretaries, according to the bill, will have authority over all agencies of state government. Apple Valley's Minnesota Zoo, for instance, will be overseen by an education secretary, who also oversees the Department of Children, Families and Learning, the State Arts Board and seven other diverse agencies.

The Health and Human Services secretary would oversee 14 agencies in addition to all health-related licensing boards not otherwise assigned.

In addition, HF 3270 sets up a task force consisting of four to six department heads and four Legislative representatives.

The task force is to plan the implementation of the massive restructuring, and they are also given charge to reorganize other agencies of state government that "might be necessary or desirable."

This task force is to turn in a report by Jan. 15, 2003 recommending any legislation that is necessary for further reorganization.

In addition, the governor is to tell the Legislature of any executive orders he plans to issue as a result of the restructuring report.

Since taking office, Gov. Ventura has strongly advocated for streamlining government through the development of a Unicameral Legislature. He has pushed for workforce and economic development initiatives that are described in numerous documents. One of the most recent government reorganization documents is titled Workforce and Economic Development (WEDD): Putting It All Together.

This report explains how the government, through its endless partnerships, takes a controlling role in where jobs are, who gets them and what they will be, thus transforming not only government, but education and business into something previously foreign to American government as it was founded.

Throughout the WEDD report and multitudes I've read like it, people young and old are reduced from individuals granted inalienable rights to "human resources" useful for the state economy.

A major expectation cited in the WEDD report is to create a "mainstream pipeline" for producing workers "to meet the needs of the state economy."

Just imagine, government partnering with education and business to efficiently move that human capital just where it's (oops, I mean "they're") needed for the state economy. What utopia.

The report says that the system creates a "decidedly different role for state government in our economic and workforce arenas."

I guess so.

Because the premises of the WEDD plan have been put off this legislative session, the fast-moving HR 3270 bill offers a perfect opportunity to still implement the WEDD plan (without much of that nasty public input to slow down the government's fast-track streamlining process).

The bill delivers what is essentially a blank check into the hands of the Ventura administration, who is bound and determined to put the workforce plan firmly into place in Minnesota.

Our country was not founded upon government partnerships and quick legislative maneuvers to create concentrated power. The process by which HF 3270 is being pushed through offers a glimpse into the true type of efficiency that this entire system represents.

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