State Senator Rich Draheim says he’ll author legislation to break the troubled state Human Services Department — which handles over 38 billion taxpayer dollars —   into smaller units.

Draheim, a Republican from Madison Lake, acknowledges the idea is not new but says “recent failures at the agency underscore the importance of doing so now.” His proposal comes as lawmakers had their first chance Wednesday to question new state Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead, who pledged the theme for her first 90 days at the helm is to rebuild trust. But Harpstead also told a Senate panel she doesn’t have enough information yet on potential courses of action after the department made more than 70 million dollars in overpayments — which the federal government wants back.

Meanwhile Minnesota House Speaker, Democrat Melissa Hortman is saying “no” to Republicans’ request to hold immediate hearings, saying the new commissioner should have 90 days to investigate issues at the department and then make her recommendations.