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

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Legislative Weekly Update- January 14-18, 2019

Friday, January 18, 2019

Hello Everyone,

What a week! It was filled with committee meetings as the House swung into action. These first few weeks, committees have informational meetings about their areas of policy, finance and the state agencies of which they have jurisdiction. They also hear from stakeholders that work in that issue area. We did have two floor sessions where we had bill introductions and some discussions on the temporary house rules. I have also introduced my first two bills for this session. One invests in funds to the grant program at the Department of Health & Human Services for the suicide prevention hotline. The other is the bonding bill for St. Louis Park’s Perspectives Inc. program. They work with homeless women/mothers who have addiction by providing housing, job training and therapy. It is a 40 year old program that has had tremendous success.

Even though we just started last week, committees are starting to hear bills. Most of them are non-controversial bills that had been stuck in the large omnibus bill from last session that was vetoed. One example is a bill heard in the Elections Committee. The bill was a statutory change that allows the Minnesota Secretary of State to access federal funds for cybersecurity. Another example is the bill we will be hearing next Tuesday (Jan. 22) in the Transportation Policy & Finance Division. We will be hearing the distracted driving bill that requires hands free cell phone use while driving. This bill was tabled by the Republican majority in the House at the end of last session despite its bipartisan support. It has a much better future this session.

Here is the committee schedule grid for the House. And, if you are interested, you can watch hearings at the House website live or view previous hearings in the archives here.

Committee Hearings
I chaired my first committee hearing on Tuesday. I am so very excited to be chairing the Education Policy Committee in the House. It is my hope that we dig into policy issues and craft legislation that will create systemic change for our students’ success. This week I focused our hearings on learning the rules our schools live by and how they are funded. We also heard from the stakeholder organizations that work on education policy. Next week, we will be focusing our hearings on the students in our schools. Our Education Policy Committee will do a joint hearing with the Education Finance Committee focused on mental health in the schools on Jan. 22. On Jan. 23, we will hear from the BAAR Center and the SEARCH Institute regarding the barriers that students face to their learning and the assets they need to build to be successful.
I also serve on the Education Finance Committee where we had three hearings this week. We heard from the Minnesota Department of Education, the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, Minnesota Rural Education Association and the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools. We closed out the week hearing from students that are a part of the Minnesota Youth Council who talked about their school experience.
In the Transportation Committee, we heard from Minnesota Department of Transportation and had an overview on how transportation is funded and managed in Minnesota. And last, but not least, in the Tax Committee we had an overview from House Research on all thing’s taxes from the income tax to the excise taxes. It is a fascinating committee.
Community Conversation & Town Halls
Thank you to all of you who attended my Community Conversation on Saturday at the Hopkins Library. It was a great discussion and I hope to see more of you at my upcoming ones. You can see the schedule for future events below.

And wow did we have a great turnout for our Town Hall on Thursday night. Senator Ron Latz, Rep. Winkler and I talked with a group of roughly 110 folks at St. Louis Park City Hall. Questions and comments included sensible gun violence protection legislation, environmental and climate change issues, voter restoration, redistricting reform, school counselor ratios, higher education funding and much more. Thank you to all who showed up and shared their thoughts!
Your thoughts, concerns and ideas are very important to me. I will be hosting five more Community Conversations in Hopkins and St. Louis Park in January through March. I hope to see many of you there! I also have a Town Hall scheduled with Senator Ron Latz and Representative Ryan Winkler. Please feel free attend any of them.

Hopkins Library – 22 11th Ave. N., Hopkins
  • Tuesday, February 5 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, March 19 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
 St. Louis Park Library – 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park
  • Tuesday, January 22 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, February 19 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, March 9 from 10:30 am – Noon
Constituents and Organizations
I have spent a lot of time hearing from different education groups and working on legislation. But I did have a chance to attend the Hopkins Legislative Action Coalition breakfast at 7 am Tuesday morning. I am so excited to be able to work with this group, as the Education Policy Committee Chair, that I started advocating with in 2000. On Friday morning, I toured the Jewish Children & Family Services to hear about the good work that they are doing with some of our littlest learners.
I look forward to more meetings with constituents as folks start to attend “Days on the Hill” and get engaged in proposed legislation. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, issues or concerns through my email or by phone at 651-296-9889. If you would like to schedule an appointment or have me attend an event, please contact my new Committee Legislative Assistant at
I look forward to hearing from you!
Cheryl Youakim