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

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Legislative Weekly Recap- March 5-11, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dear Neighbors,

As we move closer to committee deadlines, meeting agendas are getting longer and committees are beginning to meet in the evening. Three weeks in, the Capitol campus is a buzz with activity and it will only get busier.   

Last week, one of my bills from 2017 had a hearing on Wednesday. The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Senator Latz, was heard last year. The bill increases the General Community Education Levy, which was established in 1987 to fund programs for students from our youngest learners in ECFE, to our oldest in Adult Basic Education and Community Education programs. Not only has this funding not kept up with inflation, it was cut in 2003 and we have yet to make up for it. My bill would increase funding for the community education levy to where it would have been with a simple inflationary increase over the last 30 years. A big thank you to Lisa Greene, Director of Community Education for St. Louis Park Schools, who came to testify in support of the bill. Hopefully we will use some of the small portion of the budget surplus to fund this increase.

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Ms. Green and I

Welcome Brian Yu!

I would like to introduce you to Brian Yu who is interning for my office this session. Brian grew up in St. Louis Park, and attended Hopkins High School where he was an avid member of DECA and The Royal Page student newspaper. He is currently a junior at Macalester College majoring in Political Science and Economics. This semester, Brian is taking a Legislative Politics course at Macalester that emphasizes experiential learning. He wanted to intern at the State Capitol to further his understanding of the political process and to learn how legislators engage with their communities in order to best serve them at the Capitol. Brian is a constituent of Rep. Peggy Flanagan. Welcome Brian!

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Rep. Flanagan and I with Brian in the House Chamber 

The People’s House

On Wednesday, hundreds of students from St. Paul Public Schools, White Bear Lake Schools, SPCPA and Holy Angels marched to the Capitol and raised their voices regarding gun violence. They were asking for sensible gun violence protection and safety in their schools. The video below shows just one segment of those marching; the line kept going and going.

Star Tribune: Hundreds of students and supporters march at Minnesota Capitol to protest gun violence)

International Women’s Day was on Thursday. There was a large rally in the rotunda for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. I snapped a picture of three generations of women at the rally which illustrates just how long this discussion has been going on. The sign reads “I am 102 and I know what women can do”.

Constituents and Organizations

Wow, was it a busy week! I had 15 constituent meetings, St. Louis Park’s State of the City, two scheduled Community Conversations and attended the TwinWest Chamber’s monthly breakfast. All of this packed between legislation meetings, five committee hearings, presenting a bill, a rally and two floor sessions. There is never a dull moment at the Capitol.

On Monday, I met with constituents visiting with the MN Association of Naturopathic Physicians. There were more meetings scheduled that canceled due to the snow.

On Tuesday, I met with constituents here for Arts Advocacy Day, people with the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless and with a constituent who had some ideas on how to make our state websites efficient and customer friendly. I also would like to thank the folks who showed up for one of my final St. Louis Park Community Conversations, it was a great discussion!On Wednesday, I had a chance to meet with constituents here for CPA Day, a group of Pediatric Physicians from my district, folks with the Minnesota Landscape Association and constituents with the Nature Conservancy. I also had a chance to chat with Christian Van Lierop, from Hopkins, who is interning in Rep. Rick Hansen’s office.

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Constituents here for Arts Advocacy Day at the Capitol 

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Constituents here for CPA Day at the Capitol 

I would also like to thank Mayor Jake Spano, and the St. Louis Park City Council, for hosting a great State of the City event on Thursday night. St. Louis Park is doing some amazing things to connect with the community and provide services.

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St. Louis Park Community Report 

Friday, I attended the TwinWest Chamber’s monthly breakfast. The question of the day was “How does the Federal tax law effect your business?” The variety of answers showed how complex addressing tax conformity at the state level will be. Later, I happily awaited the arrival of our two sons at home from college for their Spring Break!

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TwinWest Monthly Breakfast Question 

Saturday I hosted my last Community Conversation, until the end of session, at the Hopkins Library. It was the most in depth conversations on the issues yet. I so appreciate all of you who have attended these meetings over the last three months. I learn more and more from you at each and every one.

It is very important for me to hear what your thoughts are as we move through session.  I know many of you cannot make it to the Capitol, but I am always available by email at While email is the best way to get in touch with me, feel free to contact my office by phone (651-296-9889) if you have an urgent matter or you would like to schedule a meeting.

Have a great week!