Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

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

Back to profile

Legislative Weekly Recap - March 27-April 3, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Session is speeding by and we are already one-third of the way through. This last week was extremely busy with Friday being the first policy deadline. Some committees even met late into the night to complete their work.

The first policy deadline (April 1) is when a bill must make it through all of the committees that have jurisdiction to a part of the bill in either the House or Senate. The second policy deadline is this coming Friday (April 8).  Second deadline is for committees to act favorably on bills, or companions of bills, that met the first deadline in the opposite chamber (House or Senate). Third deadline will be right around the corner on Thursday, April 21st. Third deadline is for committees to act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills. As long a bill with fiscal implications passes out of the House committee of jurisdiction by April 21st and makes it into the Ways & Means, Taxes or Capital Investment Committees, it has until the end of the session to be heard and passed to the House floor for a vote.

One of the highlights of my week last week was speaking in front of a large group of advocates at the Alzheimer’s Rally Day that took place on Tuesday at the Minnesota History Center. Rep. Jeanne Poppe, from Austin, and myself were asked to speak on bills we are carrying that pertain to Alzheimer’s. I am very grateful to the advocates who then went up to the Capitol to speak to their legislators about our bills. With their help, I garnered six more co-authors for HF2536/SF3026 .  The bill will enhance existing notification and response systems and provide training to law enforcement to recognize and respond accordingly to missing persons with Alzheimer’s.

Speaking to attendees at the Alzheimer’s Assoc. Day on the Hill

Committee Business

With committee deadlines last week, Government Operations & Elections Committee heard a variety of bills and met into the night on two occasions. As a policy committee, after the second deadline this Friday, Government Operations & Elections will have finished its business. We may continue to meet to hear bills, but they would be informational hearings only.

Higher Education Policy and Finance met twice last week. I have highlighted some of the bills we heard below. While this committee will need to finish its policy work by this Friday, it can continue to meet on budget issues up until the third deadline on April 21st.

Property Tax & Local Government Division will also need to complete its policy work by this Friday. The Chair, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, has not yet let the members know if we will be putting a small division report together to send to the Tax Committee. If so, we will be meeting up until the April 21st deadline as well.

Constituent and Organizations Visits

Last week was filled with organizations making their annual trip to the Capitol to visit with their legislators. It is a great way for constituents to connect and share the issues and specific bills that they care about with their legislator. I met with constituents visiting with a variety of groups, including the MN Aids Project, Twin West Chamber of Commerce, Insurance Organizations, Builders Association and Vail Place. I also met with a few people from the St. Louis Park Community Education program, the legislative liaison for the Girls Scouts and folks from Hennepin County to discuss the Southwest Light Rail project.


In the House Higher Education Committee this week, we heard several bills to address crushing student debt. The average debt load of four year graduates in Minnesota is nearing $32,000 – the 5th highest debt burden in the nation. This debt burden can make it difficult for Minnesotans to buy a home or save for the future, limiting family budgets and overall economic growth.

Here are some bills that DFL authors put forward this session to reduce student debt. I am honored to be a co-author on quite a few of them. While only some have been heard in the House, there is still hope that a little of the money from the supplemental budget can be directed toward reducing costs for our Minnesota students. The bills include:

  • Freezing tuition at the U of M and MnSCU to keep college costs down
  • Expanding the state grant program to open access to more families
  • Reducing the cost of textbooks by requiring campus bookstores to compare and match prices
  • Tax credits for student loan payments to reduce student loan debt
  • Expanding/improving Minnesota’s refinancing pilot program to make repayment more affordable
  • Loan forgiveness (up to 3K annually) to those who commit to work in Greater Minnesota


Recently, House and Senate legislators have joined small business owners to push for passage of the “Next Generation Main Street Act,” an array of proposals designed to support small businesses across the state. They worked with Minnesota small business owners to bring forward initiatives that will reduce costly audits, simplify tax filing for businesses, and make it easier for owners to transfer their businesses to a next generation owner. I am proud to support these bills.

The Next Generation Main Street Act key components include:

Supporting Small Business Start-Ups & Entrepreneurs by making sure that every person that starts a small business in Minnesota is contacted and provided information about the resources available to them In addition, legislators are working to assist business start-ups with gap financing through the Minnesota Initiative Foundations.

Helping with Succession Planning by providing grants to Small Business Development Centers to provide transaction services to business owners and next generation, non-family proprietors to help them take over a business.

Streamlining Audits:  by simplifying the process to reduce the amount of time and money small business owners must spend on costly audits in a number of ways

Simplifying Tax Filing for Small Businesses: by enacting federal tax conformity so that Minnesota businesses can file taxes without delay and uncertainty in 2016.

You can always contact me at 651-296-9889 or if you have questions or concerns.

Have a great week!