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

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Legislative Update- April 17, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Rep. Youakim


Hello Neighbors,

I hope you had a good week and a chance to enjoy some of our sunny days. The weather is going to warm up this coming week so make sure to get outside. This week we met on the House floor on Tuesday and Friday. Tuesday, we passed our fourth COVID-19 response bill, as well as a long-awaited bill to address access to affordable insulin. You can read more about each of these bills below. Today, we passed a bill to allow our restaurants to sell a bottle of wine and a six pack of beer or hard seltzer water with takeout orders to help them ease some of their financial burdens of being closed due to COVID-19.  

Committees continue to meet remotely to discuss various pieces of legislation related to a COVID-19 response and solutions to address the needs of Minnesotans during the pandemic. You can see the calendar for House meetings here. There are links within the calendar that allow you to watch the hearings live or you can see archived meetings here.


Practicing social distancing and voting from my office at the Capitol on Friday, April 17. Thank you Speaker Hortman and Majority Leader Winkler for making sure we can do our jobs safely while protecting our colleagues and staff.

Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act Signed into Law

Governor Walz has signed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act into law. The new landmark law will ensure that Minnesotans who cannot afford their insulin and are facing an emergency need can access a 30-day supply at their pharmacy for a co-pay of $35. Eligible Minnesotans include those who are uninsured, under-insured, receiving Medicare and do not have access to low co-pays. The legislation also streamlines the process by which Minnesotans can access affordable insulin in the long-term. Insulin manufacturers would participate in the program.

This was long overdue, but glad we came to a bipartisan compromise to honor Alec’s life, and help prevent more senseless tragedy. I was very pleased to vote yes on this important life-saving legislation. A big thank you to all of the advocates that pushed so hard to make this law a reality!


Alec Smith Insulin Act Graphics - House Passage


Minnesota Legislature Approves Additional COVID-19 Response Legislation

Earlier this week, representatives and senators reconvened session to pass a fourth COVID-19 emergency package of legislation. These were mostly policy fixes to help ease daily operations for Minnesotans during the pandemic. Measures passed include additional support to help Minnesotans execute wills, allow local governments to meet remotely, suspend certain deadlines and expiration dates, expand use of telemedicine, allow Minnesotans to apply for marriage licenses during the peacetime emergency without appearing in person, and more. You can read an overview of the legislation from the nonpartisan office of House Public Information.



UI Update-13 Week Extension

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced today a 13-week extension of Unemployment Insurance. In addition, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will provide unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers and others will be operational by end of April. If your UI benefits have been exhausted, you are encouraged to re-apply at DEED’s website. There are also new jobs available even in this current economy. DEED highlights nine positions in various sectors that are hiring now. Check them out here.

Information on Advanced Placement (AP) Testing

In response to COVID-19, College Board is developing AP Exams for this year that students can take from home.

2020 AP Exams will be:

?? Given May 11-22 and June 1-5

?? 45 minutes long

?? Open book/open note

?? Online (or a photo of handwritten work)

For more information, click here.

Free Metro Mobility Rides for Health Care Workers

The Metropolitan Council has announced free transportation to the region’s frontline healthcare workers for a safe and stress-free trip to and from work. Effective early this week, Metro Mobility is providing free door-to-door service from home to work and work to home for any person who works at a healthcare facility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This new service will provide solo or very small group on-demand rides for essential health care workers such as doctors, nurses, home health aides, clinic staff, janitorial and all other support staff. If you are a health care worker who relied on transit to get to work, or are interested in signing up for this free service, learn more here.

Assistance with Energy Bills

The Department of Commerce’s Energy Assistance Program still has funds available to help Minnesotans pay their energy bills. For those who have not already received help this heating season, there is still time. The Department of Commerce especially encourages newly unemployed, households with young children, people with disabilities, veterans, and seniors to apply. To see if you are eligible, click here.

Save the Date for my Virtual Town Hall

Next Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m., I’ll be hosting a virtual town hall meeting on Facebook Live! It’s a great way to connect with your neighbors remotely and ask any questions you have. I’d love to know what’s on your mind. Follow the link listed below to join the live stream.


Keep in Touch

Please contact me anytime to let me know how I can be of assistance. I can be reached by email at or by phone at 651-296-9889.

Be safe and be well!