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- January 21-27, 2019

Monday, January 28, 2019

Hello Everyone,

There never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish my “To Do” list. Case in point, this week’s update is getting to you on Monday instead of last Friday. Last week was filled with meetings to discuss education policy with different advocacy groups, as well as committee hearings and evening events. Groups are also starting to visit for different advocacy days, which are always fun and exciting.

Committee Hearings
Last Tuesday, we had a joint hearing with the House Education Finance Committee to learn about the impacts of the growing mental health needs in our schools. It was a packed hearing in the Capitol. The Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Health was among the presenters. They explained the urgency in resolving this issue, and that more funding and support is needed. Our discussion just scratched the surface and the conversation will continue throughout the session. KSTP covered the story here.
The following day, our House Education Policy Committee heard from SEARCH Institute & the BARR Center about the barriers students face in learning and the assets they need to overcome those barriers. Tomorrow, we are going to hear from four school districts who have had some success in decreasing the opportunity gap. And on Wednesday, we are going to hear from a taskforce that did a deep dive into standardized testing. We will also be hearing from the new Department of Education Commissioner and hearing the committee’s first bill, HF125.

Last Tuesday, the House Transportation Policy & Finance Committee, of which I’m a member, held a public hearing on HF 50, the bipartisan hands-free cell phone bill. This hearing was very emotional, and resulted in significant media. Among those testifying was John Dudley, whose son died on Excelsior Blvd and Shady Oak Rd. Hearing the families’ stories amplified the need for this legislation. It advanced to the Ways and Means Committee on a unanimous voice vote. WCCO posted a story covering the event here, and MPR’s Tim Pugmire followed up with further discussion here.
While committees are starting to hear bills, we are still having a lot of overviews. And with overviews, come lots of spreadsheets. On Wednesday morning in the Tax Committee, we went over the impact of the Federal tax bill on Minnesota and started our discussion on tax conformity. Right after that in the Education Finance Committee, we had an overview on school funding and its effects on individual school district.
The Equal Rights Amendment is One Step Closer to Reality 
The House Government Operations Committee, last Thursday, unanimously approved Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) legislation (HF 13 and HF 71). The ERA is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. If the Legislature approves both bills, voters would decide via ballot question in the 2020 election whether to add the ERA to the Minnesota Constitution. And, a request would be sent to Congress to extend the deadline for ratification of a national ERA. Many people have been waiting decades hoping this would pass, and next year will be the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Community Conversation & Town Halls
Thank you to all of you who attended my Community Conversation on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at St. Louis Park Library. We covered a wide variety of topics from gun violence prevention to compassionate care and loads in between.
Your thoughts, concerns and ideas are very important to me. I will be hosting four more Community Conversations in Hopkins and St. Louis Park in January through March. I hope to see many of you there! 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, February 19 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, March 9 from 10:30 am – Noon
Constituents and Organizations
On Thursday, I had a chance to speak with a group of school psychologists at one of their annual meetings. Rep. Jim Davnie, House Education Finance Chair, and myself filled in folks on education issues our committees are covering. It was also a fantastic opportunity to hear from the psychologists working in our schools with some of our most vulnerable students.
On Friday morning, I attended “Law School for Legislators” at Mitchel Hamline Law School put on by the Minnesota Coalition of Justice. Topics for the different sections are very timely with what we will be facing during the session. I was only able to attend in the morning but thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug on the Minnesota Constitution.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to talk on a panel called “Empowering Women, Empowering All” at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Minnetonka. Rep. Patty Acomb, Rep. Laurie Pryor and myself had a fantastic hour long discussion with 65+ members of the congregation. Thank you Rev. Brennan Blue for the invitation and the interesting topic.
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