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

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Legislative Weekly Recap- March 26-April 1, 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019
Legislative Weekly Recap
March 26-April 1, 2019

Hello Everyone,
Last week, my colleagues and I spent the majority of our time in House committees hearing bills as the second policy deadline hit on Friday. Now that the second deadline has passed, finance divisions will be focused on rolling out their budget bills. Committees plan to have their finance bills completed by the end of the week. On a personal note, the Education Policy Omnibus bill that I put together earlier in March, will be included in the Education Finance Omnibus bill.
While committees were busy, the Minnesota House still had time to approve two news bills and one conference committee report on the House floor.
On Monday House File 85 received unanimous approval on the House floor. The bill directs the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board to propose guidelines for personnel to assist patients with administering certain prescription medications in emergency situations. Rep. Brand’s bill is inspired by a 9-year-old constituent named Bailey. The Mankato Free Press has a story about the vote here.

On Thursday Senate File 307, authored by Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona, received unanimous approval on the House floor. It transfers $10 million from the general fund to state’s disaster contingency account. Pelowski is the original chief sponsor of 2014 legislation that established the disaster contingency account. The Winona Daily News has a story about the vote here.
Conference Committee on Snow Days
Conference Committee Report SF 1743/HF 1982, authored by Rep. Shelly Christensen of Stillwater and Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester, received approval by a vote of 105-21 Thursday. Better known as the “Snow Day Relief Act,” it gives school districts flexibility for missing days due to extreme winter weather that put public safety in danger. Most importantly, it requires school districts to cover all wages that hourly school employees missed due to those unforeseen cancellations. The Star Tribune has a story with more information here.

I was proud to help Rep. Shelly Christensen craft the bill as it passed through the House Education Policy Committee. I was honored to serve on the Conference Committee as we fought for the House position to pay hourly employees. Last Thursday morning, the Conference Committee report was voted off the Senate floor and was passed by the full House later that afternoon. This Monday afternoon, I attended the formal bill signing in the Governor’s reception room.

Matthew Brunes, a current teacher and former paraprofessional spoke to the conference committee on the impact to hourly employee’s family budgets during lengthy school closings.
Education Policy Committee 
On Wednesday, we had our last Education Policy Committee for the foreseeable future now that the policy deadlines are done. During the meeting, we held an informational hearing on the disparities of school suspension among students of color and indigenious. We heard from the Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. She spoke on the work their department has been doing to address suspension disparities. We also heard from three different superintendents on the work that they are doing in Robbinsdale and North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale public schools as well as at Intermediate School district of 287. Then, we spent time hearing from parents who told the stories of their children’s suspensions. This is just the beginning of the conversation that we will be having on this topic. It is my hope we can look at some meaningful solutions next session. You can read about our committee hearing here.
Superintendents Sandy Lewandowski (Intermediate Dist. 287), Christine Osorio (North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale), and Carlton Jenkins (Robbinsdale).
Minnesota Values Budget Framework Announced
House DFL lawmakers announced a framework for the Minnesota Values Budget this week. Our budget makes significant and honest investments in education, affordable health care, and safe & inclusive communities to build a Minnesota that works better for everyone.
Minnesotans care about each other, and we want to see one another succeed. Our new budget framework invests in priorities that Minnesotans have told us they value, and will help improve the lives of people across the state, no matter what you look like or where you live. Stay tuned for more specifics next week. Minnesota Public Radio covered the announcement here.
Minnesota Values Podcast
Click here to listen to Episode 6 of the Minnesota Values Podcast.

Rep. Heather Edelson joins the show to talk about House File 2 and her passion for education and mental health supports for students. Co-hosts Jamie Long and Liz Olson kick things off with a recap of the Minnesota Values Budget framework announced this week. Moonwalking is discussed, but you'll have to listen to learn why...

The Minnesota Values Podcast is 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. Subscribe and listen on iTunes, Stitcher,
Constituents and Organizations
On Monday, I had two fun opportunities. In the morning, I spoke in front of a gathering of school board members attending the Minnesota School Boards Association event. They spoke of their concerns around school funding, the special education cross-subsidy, recruiting/retaining quality teachers and staff as well as unfunded mandates.
I am waiting in the wings to speak as the Chair of the House Education Finance Committee, Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL – Minneapolis) addresses the group.
On Monday evening, I had a chance to meet with a group of public school nutrition directors. They brought variety of samples from their school lunch menus and spoke of the need for increased funding for healthy foods and kitchen equipment.
I brought back to my office delicious samples to eat while I worked into the evening.
This week, I had a few groups and constituents come to visit me. It was a great opportunity to hear thoughts from folks here with Care Providers of Minnesota, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Minnesota Advocacy for Children Day and the General Contractors Association.
I look forward to more meetings with constituents as folks stay 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 and appointment or have me attend an event, please contact my Committee Legislative Assistant at
I look forward to hearing from you!
Cheryl Youakim