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

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Legislative Update- April 8, 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Rep. Youakim

Dear Neighbors,

It is only Wednesday and we've already had a full week. The Minnesota House has held a handful of virtual committee hearings and a House floor session to pass legislation to protect our first responders and health care staff with workers’ compensation benefits if they contract COVID19 in the line of duty. You can read more about the bill and my full statement on our vote here.


House Rule 10.01, passed on March 26th, allows floor and committee procedures related to member debate and voting to occur by means of distance voting, remote electronic voting, or voting by other means designed to allow legislative operations while preserving the safety of the public, staff, and members. However, our constitution requires a majority of our members to be in the city of St. Paul to vote. There were a few folks in the House chamber, some voting from their offices in the State Office Building, and some in the parking ramp next store. My assigned voting location moved from the House chamber to my legislative office right next door.



Many of the committees are joining employees and students across the state who are distance working and learning. I had Education Finance, Taxes, Transportation, and Education Policy committee hearings so far this week.

Education Policy Committee

Today, I conducted our first Education Policy Committee meeting over Zoom. We passed HF4415 that will require schools to pay their hourly workers, ensure teachers can renew their licenses, and that new teachers can get licensed. It also makes sure students will be able to matriculate through our system during this distance learning period. It is now headed to finance where they will discuss the portions of the bill that will allow districts funding flexibility to meet the different needs that have arisen due to COVID-19.

Governor’s Remote State of the State Address

Governor Walz gave his annual State of the State address on this Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. from the Governor's Residence. His words were heartful and hopeful filled with thanks to Minnesotans and how they have stepped up in these challenging times. You can watch the address here.


Unemployment Insurance Update for Independent Contractors

There is a helpful general FAQ on the DEED website that covers the three unemployment insurance enhancements included in the federal stimulus CARE package that recently passed. This user-friendly 32 page PDF provides instructions on how to register in the UI system as an independent contractor. DEED announced today that the agency received final guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to be one of the first states to make $600 additional compensation payments to people receiving unemployment benefits.

In order to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you must prove you don’t qualify for regular UI. This means that once you register, your weekly payout amount will be calculated as $0 by the system at this time. DEED will publish additional guidance in the coming weeks and are hoping to be able to communicate directly with those who have registered in advance. They are anticipating that the PUA program will be set up to make payments by the end of April.

Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime with input, ideas, or questions. I am here to help if you need any assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact me at 651-296-9889 or send an email to

The Legislature will now observe Easter and Passover break beginning Wednesday, April 8 at 5:00 p.m. through Monday, April 13 at noon.

It’s an honor to serve our Hopkins and St. Louis Park communities at the state legislature.

Get out, enjoy the weather, and be well!