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

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Legislative Weekly Recap January 5-17, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hello Everyone,

The number of bills being introduced is picking up as committees continue to hear overviews on specific issues and budgets that fall under their jurisdiction. The full of House of Representatives has met a few times on the House floor for procedural motions as the health insurance premium relief and the Real ID legislation are moving through the process.

In order for a bill to move from one committee to another it must make a stop on the House floor. For example, after the Real ID bill was heard in the Transportation & Regional Government Policy Committee, it was amended and referred to the Transportation Finance Committee. In order for that committee to consider and take action on the legislation, the bill needed to be heard on the House floor on the day in between. When a bill is updated with all amendments included, the new version is called an “engrossment”. A bill can go through many engrossments as it is amended and continues through the committee process. If you would like to follow a particular bill’s path, you can go to and click on “My Bills” under the “Legislation” header. This program allows you to create a list of bills you may be interested in and sign up for e-mail notification of committee hearings.

Tax Conformity Legislation Signed Into Law

Friday, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law a tax conformity bill. The legislation conforms Minnesota’s tax law to a number of federal tax law changes and is retroactive to tax year 2015. As the Minnesota Department of Revenue facilitates these changes, MN DOR staff will be updating information on their website. Most of the changes will be implemented without having to file again to receive the benefits.

Real ID Bill

After many extensions, beginning on January 22, 2018, non-compliant drivers’ licenses and cards will not be accepted for boarding commercial aircraft.  Minnesotans can use passports or enhanced IDs after this date. The REAL ID Act of 2005 and its resulting federal regulations govern various aspects of state issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, including identity verification, security, and access to data. 

Following passage of the federal law, several states initially enacted legislation expressing opposition to or barring implementation of the federal mandates.  Minnesota was one such state: the 2009 Legislature enacted a REAL ID Act prohibition for both state planning and implementation. State responses changed over time, and today nearly all states and U.S. territories are either in full compliance with the federal law or are in the process of meeting its requirements.  In 2016, the Legislature partially lifted the Minnesota ban, allowing planning but not actual implementation or administrative rulemaking. This year, the Legislature is tasked with giving direction to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) on the final implementation.

The House bill for Real ID is HF 3 and it has been moving rapidly through the committee process. Currently the bill is written to require DVS to create a two-tiered system with an option of an ID that is compliant to Federal regulations and one that is not. Many states have taken this approach so as to allow those who have concerns over some of the Federal requirements regarding data, birth certificate requirements and proof of residency to obtain a non-compliant license. For example a non-compliant option is needed for those with only a Tribal ID as well as someone who does not want the Federal government to retain certain data. Unfortunately, the non-compliant ID that HF3 proposes leaves no options for individuals who cannot prove legal residency status. These members of our community would not be able to drive to work, bring their kids to daycare/school or visit the doctor and would be unable to by auto insurance. Many organizations within the business community and law enforcement have major concerns over this provision and see it as a public safety hazard.  

I’m hopeful that this unnecessary language is removed from the bill before it comes to the House floor. The Senate has introduced their version of a Real-ID bill, but has not yet been granted a committee hearing. The Legislature has until the end of session to compromise on a proposal and get it to the Governor’s desk for him to sign.

Committee Business

On Monday, Transportation & Regional Governance heard overviews from non-partisan House Research staff. On Thursday, we heard the Real ID bill (HF3). I voted no on passage out of the committee due to the restrictive language mentioned above.

In Government Operations and Elections on Wednesday, we heard budget overviews from the Association of Minnesota Counties, Minnesota Association of Townships, League of Minnesota Cities and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. On Thursday, Secretary of State Steve Simon gave a presentation on some of the new initiatives his office is working on, in addition to a 2016 election process overview. We also heard from the new Executive Director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board. They are rolling out a new website that will be much more user friendly.

On Wednesday, the Property Tax & Local Government Division, received an overview from the House non-partisan tax staff. This committee is a division of the full House Tax Committee and will start hearing bills next week for possible inclusion in the 2017 Omnibus Tax Bill.

Constituent and Organization Visits

Throughout the session, I visit with many different organizations and constituents at the Capitol and in the community. Last Friday, I attended the monthly TwinWest Chamber breakfast where Governor Dayton discussed his session priorities. Next month, we will be hearing from the legislative leaders. For more information about the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, visit their website here.

Last Saturday, I attended an annual St. Louis Park League of Women Voters meeting with Representative Peggy Flanagan. For over an hour we had a Q&A session with members and enjoyed a chili potluck. It was a great discussion and I look forward to this event every year.  For more information about the St. Louis Park League of Women Voters please visit their website here.

Highway 169 Project

The start of the Highway 169 Project at Nine Mile Creek Bridge in Edina & Hopkins has been delayed once again.  MNDOT will announce the new start date once it is determined. To follow project announcements visit the MNDOT project website here.

Town Hall & Coffee & Conversation Dates

Mark your calendars for the SD46 Town Hall Meeting with Senator Ron Latz, Representative Peggy Flanagan and myself on Tuesday, January 31 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the St. Louis Park City Council Chambers.

Below are also the future dates for my individual “Coffee & Conversations”. There will be coffee at the Saturday meetings.

Hopkins Library Meeting Room, 22 11th Avenue North, Hopkins MN 55343

Tuesday, February 21: 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 4: 10:30 a.m.-NOON

St. Louis Park Library Meeting Room, 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park MN 55426

Tuesday, January 24: 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 11: 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 14: 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

As always, please feel free to contact me with questions and issues you care about. E-mail at is the best way to get in touch with me. If you have an urgent concern, please contact my office by phone at 651-296-9889.

Have a great week!