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

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Legislative Weekly Recap- February 5-8, 2019

Friday, February 8, 2019
Legislative Weekly Update
February 5-8, 2019

Hello Everyone,
Committees are starting to hear more bills as we move into the fifth week of session. You can follow the session in a variety of ways. To see the calendar for the day or week you can look here. To follow a specific committee you can look here, click on a specific committee and sign up to receive their updates via e-mail. You can look up a specific bill here. And, there is also a “My Bills” feature on the Minnesota House website where you can create a customized list of bills that you would like to follow. You will then be notified when those particular bills have hearings and if any action is to be taken on it.
Committees Updates
In the Education Policy Committee on Tuesday, we spent the entire hour and a half hearing learning about Special Education policy requirements. We had a presentation from the Minnesota Department of Education regarding the Federal and State requirements around the delivery of special education services. We heard from the Minnesota Association of School Administrators on how an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is put together for a student illustrated by a “Tale of Two Students.” And, we heard about the challenges of special education paperwork from one teacher and one speech language pathologist. It was a fantastic insight into the lives of special education teachers and students that lead to productive conversation. We will be hearing multiple proposals in the coming weeks to address some of the challenges teachers and administrators are facing in efficiently delivering services to some of the most vulnerable students in our schools. You can hear the audio of the meeting here.

On Wednesday, the Education Policy Committee held a joint hearing with the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. We had a presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) from the Minnesota Department of Health. The trauma of ACE can affect a child’s brain development as well as their mental and physical health. Having a strong support system and healthy relationships can build a child’s resilience to overcome traumatic situations but without such support there can be lifelong repercussions. We also heard from two teachers who painted a vivid picture on how students with high ACE scores present in the classroom. After hearing their stories, it became very clear that our teachers need extra support to make sure these children can reach their full potential. You can listen to the hearing here.
The House Transportation Policy & Finance Committee continued with overviews and heard a few non-controversial, common sense bills, like one that would allow physical therapists to assign temporary handicap parking vouchers to patients in need. We rounded out the week hearing from transportation advocates asking for increased investment in our infrastructure system. Chair Hornstein also brought in the Chair of Georgia House of Representatives Transportation Committee to share what he learned spearheading a funding package for roads. We also heard from the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s head of Infrastructure and Government Affairs about successful projects.
In Education Finance this week we had an informational hearing on school nutrition that revealed, "surprise", students learn better when they are fed healthy foods. There was also an overview on English Language Learners (ELL) followed by a bill to increase funding for ELL programs. We ended the week with an overview of the variety of early childhood programs and about the investments we make in our youngest learners.

In the Tax Committee we heard a variety of bills ranging from student loan credits to tax conformity around business equipment. We also heard bills that would provide tax exemptions for the purchases on firefighter equipment, construction material, conservations clubs and animal shelters.
Sexual Harassment Bill
HF10, authored by my colleague Rep. Kelly Moller, proposes to change the definition of sexual harassment in the Minnesota Human Rights Act to clarify that sexually offensive behavior need not be “severe or pervasive” in order for it to be subject to litigation. Similar legislation passed last year unanimously off the House Floor, but was halted by the Republican Majority. All Minnesotans deserve to be safe and have a respectful environment in the workplace. I’m glad the bill advanced out of committee with no opposition from legislators.
Minnesota Values Project Podcast
I am happy to announce we've launched the Minnesota Values Podcast. It's a new show that takes you behind the scenes at the State Capitol for a conversation about how House DFLers are putting Minnesotans' values into action. Episodes are available at
Corrections Division Holds Hearing at Stillwater Prison
The House Corrections Division is working to maintain safe environments within the walls of our state correctional facilities. To get to the bottom of these issues, the Division recently toured the facility in Stillwater and took the unprecedented step of holding a hearing at the prison. Through this, we can learn more about the resources the Department of Corrections needs to keep both correctional officers and offenders alike safe, and the solutions they need to help ensure those who go to prison can reenter the community without making a return visit.

Paul Bunyan's Axe
It took us 16 years, but the University of Minnesota has finally reclaimed Paul Bunyan's Axe. It was a fun photo opportunity at the State Office Building! Ski-U-Mah!
Community Conversation & Town Halls
A big thank you to the handful of folks that came out on a very snowy Tuesday night for a great Community Conversation. Topics ranged from housing regulations to instant runoff voting.
I will be hosting three more Community Conversations in Hopkins and St. Louis Park through March. Your thoughts and concerns are very important to me and I hope to see many of you there! Please feel free attend any of them.
Hopkins Library – 22 11th Ave. N., Hopkins
  • 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
Organizations are also starting to visit us at the Capitol to advocate for their interests. Throughout the week, I heard from constituents visiting the Capitol regarding issues facing CPA’s, physical therapists, pharmacists, optometrists, the Joint Religious Legislative Council and the Alzheimer’s Association. The largest group that visited me was during the Second Chance Coalition Rally Day. They are a variety of organizations that have come together to advocate for folks trying to start a new life after incarceration. We talked about the many barriers folks face to become productive members of society including restoration of voting rights.
Friday morning I attended the monthly TwinWest Chamber breakfast where the special guest speaker was Governor Tim Walz. Governor Walz laid out an inspirational vision for Minnesota and the group had some great questions. Afterwards, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Policy Makers Summit on Mental Health put on by Intermediate School District 287. They partner with 11 metro school districts and serve the unique educational needs of students and prove more intensive services than their home districts can provide.
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 at or by phone at 651-296-9889. If you would like to schedule an appointment or invite me to an event, please contact my new Committee Legislative Assistant at

I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheryl Youakim