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

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Legislative Weekly Recap- February 24-March 2, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020
Rep. Youakim

Dear Neighbors,

Last week on Thursday, Minnesota Management and Budget released the February Economic Forecast, showing a projected positive balance of $1.5 billion for the current biennium. While the forecast does show a positive balance, it includes inflation on the revenue side and excludes it on the spending side in several key areas. When estimated inflation is considered, there is a projected deficit of $654 million in 2022-23. 

Costs go up and our forecast doesn’t count them. As a result, we face significant budget deficits in the future. These deficits undermine our ability to provide good schools, roads, and health care for Minnesotans. DFLers think it’s important to make investments in things that will build a better Minnesota for all of us. Here is a link to documents about the forecast.

On Wednesday evening we approved a bill to provide affordable insulin to Minnesotans. We also passed a bill to provide further protect privacy during the upcoming Presidential Primary that will take place on Tuesday, March 3. You can see more details of both bills below as well as finding your polling locations here.

Constituent Survey

I hope you’ll take a moment to share your input with by taking my short, online legislative survey. I appreciate your feedback, as it helps shape my work for our communities at the Capitol. You can find the link to the survey here.

Insulin Update

On Wednesday, the House passed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, which is a revised version of the original legislation from 2019. It ensures Minnesotans can access insulin on an emergency basis, while also connecting them with options for long-term affordable insulin coverage. Alec’s Bill is informed by the input from advocates over the summer and fall in community listening sessions across the state, informational committee hearings, as well as bipartisan negotiations.


Insulin Cost Graph

Minnesota House Approves Two Gun Violence Prevention Bills

On Feb. 27, the Minnesota House approved legislation that would expand criminal background checks on all gun sales and establish extreme risk protection orders. Passing gun violence prevention legislation is a top priority for House DFLers.

Despite overwhelming support among Minnesotans and bipartisan support in other states, Senate Republicans have so far refused to take action to prevent senseless gun violence.

Criminal background checks on all gun sales are already required in 21 states and the District of Columbia. States that have taken this approach have experienced lower homicide rates, lower firearm suicide rates, and less firearm trafficking.

Extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) would help keep guns out of the hands of people who have proven to be a danger to themselves or others. This tool allows law enforcement to temporarily restrict access to firearms if a court of law determines that an individual poses a significant danger. ERPO laws have reduced firearm suicides, homicides, and mass shootings in other states, and they are currently in use in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Some of these Republican-led states are Florida, Colorado, Illinois, and Vermont.  

KARE11 covered the vote here

Minnesota House Approves Voter Privacy Improvements

Minnesotans who vote in the state’s presidential primary would be able to opt-out of voter lists sent to major political parties under a bill passed Wednesday night in the House. HF3068 would place restrictions on voter data collected during presidential primaries and levy severe penalties on those who make it public.

The aim is to make it less likely that which party primary ballot a voter chooses will become public. That’s a fear that has been expressed as Minnesota prepares to hold its presidential primary March 3. State law requires the Office of the Secretary of State to turn over a list of every voter and their party ballot choice to chairs of each of the major political parties in the state.


Committee Hearings

We continue to have packed agendas in committee hearings, as we are only three weeks out from the first committee deadline. In the Transportation Committee, we heard a variety of non-controversial bills. In the Tax Committee we had an overview from the folks who put the Tax Expenditure Report together. We also heard a variety of bills to exempt sales tax from construction material for municipal fire stations. In the Education Finance Committee, we discussed legislation to increase the number of teachers of color and indigenous in our classrooms and a bill to address the cross-subsidy around funds for English language learners.


Parent advocates testify in support of Rep. Her's bill to modify student discipline and nonexclusionary disciplinary policies.

Our Education Policy committee met Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday, we had a presentation around trauma informed education from intermediate district 287. They are working with an organization called Child Trauma Academy to train their teachers on how to address trauma in their classrooms. We also discussed the book our committee read over the summer. The book, The Boy Who Was Raised as A Dog, addresses how trauma affects the growing brain and ways to approach the aftermath of that trauma. On Wednesday, we heard the Governor’s Education Policy bill and a bill regarding the Professional Educators Licensing Standards Board. On Friday, we had a six-hour hearing on a variety of bills to address the opportunity gap, as well as the health and safety of the children in our classroom. Here is a link to the Education Policy Committee website to view agenda and recordings of the committee hearings. 

Constituent and Community Visits

Last week was a busy one! I met with constituents visiting the Capitol with a variety of groups including occupational therapists, Epilepsy Foundation, public certified accountants, chiropractors, Hunger Solutions, and Be the Match. I always appreciate the great conversations with folks!




Be the Match


Occupational Therapists


Epilepsy Foundation


Hunger Solution

I also had my fourth community conversation with folks at the Hopkins library. We covered a lot of issues from education policy to climate change and sensible gun violence prevention. My last two community conversations are:

  • Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Public Library, 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park, MN
  • Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 12:00-1:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Public Library, 3240 Library Lane, St. Louis Park, MN

I look forward to more meetings with constituents as folks attend “Days on the Hill” and stay engaged. 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 Committee Legislative Assistant at  I look forward to hearing from you!  

Cheryl Youakim