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

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Special Session Begins

Friday, June 12, 2020

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

Today, the Minnesota Board of Pardons, which consists of the Governor, Attorney General, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, granted the state's first posthumous pardon to Max Mason. Mr. Mason was wrongfully convicted in connection with the lynching of three innocent black men in Duluth. Governor Walz noted that the pardon was 100 years overdue, and acknowledged importance of grappling with Minnesota's history of racism.

The Minnesota Historical Society has informational resources related to the Duluth Lynchings, which occurred this week in 1920. This is a reminder that injustices – like what happened to George Floyd – aren’t new, and the pain and trauma associated with them has existed for generations.

Special Session Begins

Following a proclamation from Governor Tim Walz, the Minnesota Legislature convened in special session today at noon. We have finished our first day and I wanted to send you a short update on our progress.

Our first order of business today was approving legislation to deliver $62.5 million in grants for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill – which includes $60 million from the federal CARES Act – focuses on Minnesota’s smallest businesses, many of which missed out on federal loan funds.

Under the bill, small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can receive grants up to $10,000 each. To be eligible, the business must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a permanent physical location in Minnesota, 
  2. Be owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota, 
  3. Be in good standing with the Secretary of State’s office and the Dept. of Revenue as of March 1, 2020, and 
  4. Demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast to existing programs designed to help business during the pandemic, grants will be awarded by lottery.

The bill is available here. Video of today’s floor vote is available here

Reimagining our Public Safety Systems

The murder of George Floyd has laid bare the deeply rooted inequalities between our communities and neighbors, and has highlighted the need for big changes. Now is a time for leaders to come together--regardless of party, race, and place-- to reimagine and reform how public safety works.

Our People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus has carefully crafted several policy proposals that will be vetted and discussed in the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee tomorrow. These include:

  • Data Practices Modifications for Peace Officers
  •  Retroactive Repeal of Statutes of Limitations
  •  Warrior Training Prohibited
  •  Choke Hold Ban
  •  Duty to Intercede
  •  Police Residency Reform
  •  Data Collection and Regulatory Reform/etc.
  •  Arbitration Reform
  •  Law Enforcement Oversight Council Reform
  •  Use of Force Reform
  •  Prosecutorial Reform
  •  Investigatory Reform
  •  Cash Bail • Public Safety Peer Counseling Debriefing
  •  Police Officer Critical Incident Review
  •  Community Led Public Safety
  •  Mental Health Training
  •  Autism Training
  •  Restore the Vote

If you’d like to testify, please contact Jason Chavez at You can tune in and watch the hearing here.

Other Important Priorities Moving Forward

The House’s priorities for the special session are getting financial assistance to local governments and small businesses to deal with the impact of COVID-19, completing unfinished business from the regular session — including passing a Jobs and Local Projects bill — enacting carefully crafted legislation led by the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus on police accountability and criminal justice reform, in addition to rebuilding communities that have suffered property damage. I expect the special session to continue into next week. I will keep you posted as I know more information.

Keep in Touch

Please contact me anytime with questions or to let me know how I can be of assistance to you. The quickest way to reach me is via email at

Have a nice weekend and be well.