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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL)

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Legislative Weekly Recap - March 8-11, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Last Tuesday at noon, the 2016 Legislative Session officially started. Since it is the second year of the biennium there was no special opening ceremony but there were introductions of three new members and a moment of silence for both Rep. David Dill and former Rep. Sandra Peterson. There was also much discussion on how to conduct the business of the House in the Capitol, which is currently a construction zone and closed to the public. Lack of space for the public to view the legislative session, directions to the porta-potties outside and emergency exit procedures were also discussed.

A bill to extend the unemployment benefits for steelworkers on the Iron Range was brought forward by Rep. Garofalo (R – Farmington). Unfortunately, other than an extension of unemployment benefits, it also included business tax cuts. We received a letter on our desks signed by eight different Northern Minnesota Chambers of Commerce, local businesses, asking that the bill only include the unemployment extension and not the business tax cuts. The Senate has passed a bill that includes only the unemployment extension, which was sent to the House. I am sure it will come up again this week.

Committee Business

Once again, I am on the Government Operations & Elections Committee as well as the Property Tax & Local Government Committee. I am no longer on the Rules Committee, but I am excited to announce that I have taken Rep. Winkler’s spot on the Higher Education Policy& Finance Committee. All three committees have met once already and this week things will swing into action. Agendas for the committees are just starting to fill up as the first policy deadline of April 1 is fast approaching. House committees usually post their agendas 48 hours in advance. You can view the House calendar for the day here and all upcoming committee meetings here. If there is a committee you are particularly interested in, you can sign-up to receive updates of the upcoming agendas by visiting the House website and clicking on “Committees & Divisions” to reach the link to register for their e-mail lists.

One Minnesota

Last Wednesday, all of the Senators and House members were invited to attend the annual “One Minnesota” conference. It is organized by legislative leadership and covers topics that we will face during session. More importantly, it is a chance for members to spend some time together in a bipartisan fashion. This year, the topics included a transportation panel, a budget and economic outlook, as well as prospects and challenges of Minnesota’s business climate. After lunch we had a special guest speaker, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman who grew up in our very own St. Louis Park. He previewed his upcoming book and talked about what makes Minnesota work.

Local News

  • Congratulations to the Hopkins Boys Basketball team in their Class AAAA State Championship victory on Saturday over Lakeville! It was a very close game that was very exciting to watch. The Target Center was packed and it was fun to see the students sections as they cheered on their peers. The Hopkins Girls Basketball team is headed to the State Championship this week, good luck!

  • From 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15 until 5 a.m. Wednesday, March 16, Hwy. 100 between Hwy. 62 and I-394 will be closed in both directions. Beams are being set for the pedestrian bridge near the railroad tracks in St. Louis Park.

  • There will be another Open House regarding Hwy. 100 construction on Wednesday, March 30 from 5-7 p.m. at Groves Academy (3200 Hwy. 100 S.) in St. Louis Park.

  • Hopkins is once again offering their Citizens Academy. There are four sessions running from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. April 7, 14, 21 & 28. It is free and a great way to learn about how your city works. The course is designed to give you an in-depth look into city departments and programs. I enjoyed it when I took it in 2005. You can find the application here.

Even though the Capitol is closed during construction, the State Office Building, where my office is located, is open. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 651-296-9889 or contact my legislative assistant at My legislative survey is up for one more week if you have not gotten a chance to take it, please do by visiting here. As always, please feel free to contact me with issue or concerns. During session, e-mail is the best way to get a hold of me.

Have a great week!