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

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Legislative Weekly Recap- February 19-25, 2019

Monday, February 25, 2019
Legislative Weekly Recap
February 19-25, 2019

Hello Everyone,

We are fast approaching the first deadline for policy committees, which is March 15. The first deadline is when all bills with a policy component must pass out of all relevant policy committees in either the House or the Senate. So the next few weeks the policy committees will be moving full speed to hear bills and to move them along. Many of these committees, including the Education Policy Committee that I chair, will be putting together small omnibus bills as well. An omnibus bill is a collection of bills in a specific topic area that have been heard in that particular committee. I have committed to limiting our omnibus bills to a single subject, as well as only including bills that have been given a committee hearing.

Making History: Sovereignty Day
On Monday a historic meeting between the Minnesota House and the state’s 11 sovereign tribal nations took place. The first ever Sovereignty Day featured presentations about history, culture, tribal law, and the relationship between tribal, federal, and state governments. The day-long educational event was embraced by legislators, who listened closely as tribal leaders spoke their truths about the historical pain and trauma inflicted on Native people by the federal and state government for generations.
Watch full video of tribal presentations here or check out WCCO’s coveragehere.

Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan Release Budget for One Minnesota
Governor Walz on Tuesday released his proposal for a new two-year state budget, which he calls a “Budget for One Minnesota.” It prioritizes education, health care, and community prosperity. You can read more about the state budget plan here.
Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman and House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler released a statement following the announcement.
House Unanimously Approves Bills
The entire Minnesota House on Thursday unanimously approved four bills, two of which are highlighted below.
Help America Vote Act (HF 14)
Our Secretary of State Steve Simon is committed to protecting our elections and keeping your personal voter data safe from hackers, foreign governments, and other bad actors who seek to undermine our democracy. Currently, federal money to upgrade the security of Minnesota's voting system is sitting in a state account. Every state was given this funding, and Minnesota is the only one that has not used it because the money can't be spent until the Legislature approves a measure to authorize the Secretary of State’s office to have access to it.  The House took action to pass the bill to allow this access on Thursday. IfHF 14 passes through the Senate, Gov. Tim Walz said he will sign it.
Repealing the marital rape defense (HF 15)
The Minnesota House on Thursday unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Stephenson that would help to support victims of sexual assault by getting rid of the “voluntary relationship defense,” which shields perpetrators from prosecution in certain instances if they are married to the victim.
“Courageous Minnesotans like Jenny Teeson who are coming forward to tell painful personal stories are the inspiration behind this legislation,” said Rep. Stephenson. “Repealing the state’s ‘marital rape exception’ is an example of how the Legislature is putting Minnesotans’ values into action. “
HF 15 has received significant coverage in the news following its introduction and several emotional public hearings. Jenny Teeson of Andover, MN shared her experience of being drugged, raped, and videotaped by her former husband. When she sought justice, the legal system said her case could not proceed because of a law that Stephenson has been working to repeal. You can watch the full presentation from the House floor about the bill here.
Education Committee Goes on the Road
On Friday, the House Education Finance Committee hit the road and traveled to Windom, Minnesota. We had a tour of their combined High School and Middle School. They are doing amazing work around career and technical education training. Students have the opportunity to take classes in the welding, auto or woods shop. They offer classes to expose students to different fields in the medical industry, as well as teaching careers. There is even a lab with growing towers where students have the chance to cultivate lettuce for the school lunches. We then held a formal hearing on two bills HF1142 on debt service equalization and HF 1143 that increase state aid for the operating referendum program.
Community Conversation & Town Halls
Thank you to everyone who came to the St. Louis Park Library last Tuesday night. We had a great conversation about the Governor’s proposed budget, transportation funding, higher education investments, the equal rights amendment and parental rights. Your thoughts, concerns and ideas are very important to me. I will be hosting two 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 either 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
  • Saturday, March 9 from 10:30 am – Noon
Constituents and Organizations
This week, I had a few groups and constituents come to visit. It was a great opportunity to hear thoughts from folks here with the Humane Society, Minnesota Catholic Conference and the Nine Mile Creek Watershed. I also had the chance to speak with some student from the School of Environmental Studies in Eden Prairie. They are very engaged around climate change issues.
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with parents, students and administrators from the Hopkins School District and their Legislative Action Coalition (LAC). The LAC is a parent led organization that advocates for funding for public schools from early childhood through grade 12. I joined the group as they met with Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan in the Governor’s reception room. Lt. Governor Flanagan gave us an update on the education section of the proposed budget. As a parent, I belonged to the Hopkins LAC fourteen years ago and made some of my first advocacy trips up to the Capitol with them.
Later that day, I met with two of our wonderful Hopkins City Council members, Jason Gadd and Aaron Kuznia, as well as our city manager Mike Mornson. It was great to see old colleagues and hear a little bit more about the legislative agenda that the city is pursing. I will be carrying a bill to help them with some modifications to a Tax Increment Financing district.
Saturday evening I attended the Hopkins Education Foundation Gala. This is a non-profit that raises money for Hopkins Public Schools. Proceeds from this year will primarily go towards maintaining their mental health clinics at their high school and two junior high schools. I was honored to sit at the table of Emily Wallace-Jackson who is the Board President of the Hopkins Education Foundation and I am very proud of the work that they do.
I look forward to more meetings with constituents as folks attend “Days on the Hill” and start to 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 invite me to an event, please contact my Committee Legislative Assistant at
I look forward to hearing from you!
Cheryl Youakim