ST. PAUL (LEARFIELD) – Republican lawmakers are blasting state agency heads for improper contracting practices that violated state law nearly 18-hundred times over the past year at 32 different state agencies.

“Very, very troubling that there is this attitude,” said Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center).  “Now we see it’s an attitude across all the agencies that we can go and spend whatever we want, then we’ll get approval and then we’ll tell you what it’s for. This has got to change.”

Others are calling for Gov. Tim Walz to do something about the problem.

“The takeaway from this is not just DHS, we need some systemic change,” said Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake). “We need the governor to get a handle on these agencies from today going forward.”

Governor Walz wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Before Wednesday’s hearing, most of the focus had been on the state Human Services Department, where Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said they’re working to regain trust of lawmakers and Minnesotans.