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

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Legislative Weekly Recap - May 9-15, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Last week we spent time on the House floor on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Floor sessions are becoming longer with lists of non-controversial and a few larger controversial bills being heard. The conference committee for the supplemental budget met last week to review similarities and differences between the House and Senate versions. The conference committee was unable to do much more than that because no amount of money has been agreed upon as a target.

As a reminder, along with the supplemental budget, there is still the outstanding business of a bonding bill. Earlier this year, Governor Dayton put out a suggested bonding bill with projects totaling $1.4 billion. Two weeks ago, the DFL Senate unveiled their bonding bill at $1.5 billion. Last week the Senate voted on that bill and it failed by just one vote. With six days left of session, Rep. Paul Torkelson (GOP Chair of the Capital Investment Committee) has yet to unveil a House bonding bill. 

A comprehensive tax bill and transportation bill remain unresolved, and conference committees appointed last year have met only a few times this session. We are still waiting for the Governor and the leaders in the House and the Senate to come to an agreement on these key bills so that our work can be completed. I still remain hopeful that a compromise will happen, but that hope is dwindling by the hour as we have only six voting days left in this year’s session.

Upcoming End of Session Town Hall Meeting

Senator Ron Latz, Representative Peggy Flanagan and myself will be hosting an end of session Town Hall meeting in two weeks. We will spend time recapping the session and then open up the floor for questions. I hope you will consider attending.

What: Senate District 46 End of Session Town Hall

When: Wednesday, May 25 at 6:00 p.m.

Where: St. Louis Park City Hall- Council Chambers, 5005 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Committee Business

As the end of session nears, there are few standing committees holding hearings. None of the committees that I am assigned to met last week. However, the Government Operations & Elections Committee met this morning to hear the annual pensions bill. It is my hope that leaders will come to a consensus on the budget by tomorrow so that conference committees can meet to resolve their differences, preferably in public. The House will be meeting in session every day this week and into the weekend. Constitutionally we need to adjourn on Monday, May 23. However, we are not allowed to vote on any bills on Monday. Therefore, we will need to complete our business for this legislative session by midnight on Sunday, May 22.

Constituent and Organizations Visits

Fewer constituent groups are meeting with legislators as session winds down. There are occasional rallies held by groups to express their viewpoints on issues or individual bills. On Monday last week, I attended a meeting hosted by the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce regarding funding the Southwest Light Rail Transit project (SW LRT). This week, Rep. Peggy Flanagan and I are meeting with some of our freshman GOP colleagues to talk with them about a comprehensive transportation bill and give them accurate information on the SW LRT project. And on Sunday, I scooped ice cream at the Annual Children’s First event in St. Louis Park’s Wolfe Park. Mayor Jake Spano also cut the ribbon on the new play equipment that was recently installed. It was a beautiful sunny day with crowds of kids and adults enjoying ice cream and musical entertainment.

House Image

Rep. Peggy Flanagan and I scooping ice cream for the Annual Children’s First event at Wolfe Park.

With six days of the legislative session remaining, bills will be moving quickly on the House and Senate floor. Please feel free to contact me if you have specific questions on bills or issues. Email is the best way to contact me during these final days of session. Thank you to all those who have contacted me to date, I am doing my best to keep up with the volume.

Have a great week!