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

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Legislative Update- April 24, 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

A big thank you to everyone who participated in my virtual town hall meeting yesterday! These are challenging times, but I’m grateful technology makes it possible to connect with such an engaged community. If you’d like to watch a recap, you may do so here.

Distance Learning Extended

On Thursday, it was announced that distance learning for our K-12 schools will continue until the end of the school year. On Friday, Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flannagan, and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner Mary Catherine Ricker announced increased efforts to reach students during the extension of distance learning. Those efforts include increased direction from MDE on meeting the needs of students and their families around technology, mental health, and other services. Additional direction on how to make distance learning successful for students with special needs will also be forthcoming.

Hourly School Worker Legislation Advances in the House

This week, the House continued remote committee hearings. Notably, the House Education Finance Committee advanced legislation to deliver support to our hourly school workers. I remain hopeful the Senate will come to the table to join us in getting this done. Our paraprofessionals, bus drivers, lunch personnel and more deserve economic security, especially with recent news of schools remaining closed for the rest of the school year.

Breakthrough in COVID-19 Testing

On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced that Minnesota has made a significant breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19. Thanks to a partnership with Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and other health care providers, our state will have the capacity to test as many as 20,000 people per day. That means every Minnesotan with COVID-19 symptoms will be able to get tested.


testing breakthrough


Rapid, widespread testing will help us build a better picture of how COVID-19 is impacting our

state. This is a vital step towards better controlling the virus and safely reopening our economy.

You can read more about it here.

Getting Minnesotans Safely Back to Work 

Yesterday, the Governor announced a preliminary plan to Minnesotans for the process of safely returning to work, starting with workers at non-Critical Sector industrial, manufacturing and office-based businesses that are non-customer facing. The executive order requires businesses to create and share a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan with employees, engages in health screenings of employees daily, and continuing to use telework when possible.

Governor Walz also shared a dial framework which takes into consideration several health, economic, and social factors – and applies them to a variety of settings that have varying levels of predictability and size considerations.

Adjusting the Dials

The executive order will allow approximately 20,000 businesses and roughly 80,000 – 100,000 workers to go back to work beginning on Monday, April 27.

PUA Program Payments Begin

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced today that the agency has begun making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. PUA is a new program that was authorized by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and signed into law on March 27, 2020. Click here to learn more about applying for PUA.


Earth Day

This week on April 22 marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! As a member of the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus, I’m celebrating the progress made by those who came before us and acting on behalf of those who will come after us. I remain committed to enacting legislative strategies to help us slow and tackle the climate crisis.



Hennepin County Property Taxes 

On Tuesday, the Hennepin County Board unanimously voted to remove penalties on property tax payments made up to two months past the May 15 deadline for qualifying homeowners. That means that residents with taxes of $50,000 or less for their May 15 payment can delay that payment until July 15 without fines or interest. Those who escrow their taxes aren’t eligible. You can read more details here.

Hennepin County and St. Louis Park Small Business Loans

On Monday, April 27, Hennepin County will be accepting applications for their small business loan program for business who have under 20 employees. You can learn about the program here.

The City of St. Louis Park has also created their own small business loan program for businesses with 3-25 employees and have an annual gross income of $1 million or less. You can learn about the program here.

Mask Drive

Last week, Governor Walz launched a week-long homemade mask drive. Residents in our district can drop off homemade masks to the Hopkins Fire Department or their local St. Louis Park Fire Station on Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fire departments will deliver the masks to local congregate living facilities. 

Mask Drive

Homemade masks don’t replace personal protective equipment (PPE), but they help limit the spread of the virus. If you’d like to participate in the mask drive, patterns and instructions are available here.

Stay Connected

Please continue reaching out to me with questions, ideas, or input at or by phone at 651-296-9889.

Be safe and be well!