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

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Legislative Update- June 19, 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

It appears special session is winding down. The Senate Republicans have indicated they are ready to go home, but House members are continuing to work hard to pass important COVID-19 response measures as well as criminal justice and public safety reforms by the arbitrary deadline that the Senate has set. Here is a quick overview of what we have passed in the last few days.


Minnesota Police Accountability Act of 2020

I am proud to have supported this practical reform package that our People of Color and Indigenous Caucus put together. The bill, that is off to the Senate, contains three different categories of reform:


Reclaiming Community Oversight

Putting power into the hands of the people and neighborhoods that police officers are sworn to serve and protect.

  • Retroactive Repeal of Statutes of Limitations (Vang)
  • Warrior Training Prohibited (Richardson)
  • Choke Hold Ban (Moran)
  • Duty to Intercede (Becker-Finn)
  • Police Residency Reform (Hassan)
  • Data Collection and Regulatory Reform/etc. (Mariani)
  • Arbitration Reform (Her)
  • Law Enforcement Oversight Council Reform (Gomez)


Reforming Accountability

Restoring confidence and trust in the systems that are meant to provide justice for all Minnesotans.

  • Use of Force Reform (Moran)
  • Prosecutorial Reform (Becker-Finn)
  • Investigatory Reform (Mariani)
  • Cash Bail Reform (Noor)


Re-Imagining Public Safety

Restoring community trust in the public safety system, while giving peace officers the tools they need for community policing.

  • Public Safety Peer Counseling Debriefing (Noor)
  • Police Officer Critical Incident Review (Kunesh-Podein)
  • Community Led Public Safety (Gomez)
  • Mental Health Training (Richardson)
  • Autism Training (Richardson)
  • Restore the Vote (Moran)




We also passed the PROMISE (Providing Resources, Opportunity and Maximizing Investments in Striving Entrepreneurs) Act. The legislation is a comprehensive plan to help businesses rebuild and recover, many of which are owned by Minnesotans of color and immigrants. The goal is to preserve the unique character of the impacted commercial and cultural corridors, continue their position as a place for small businesses to emerge and develop, and to keep the community vision central to redevelopment. Specifically, the plan would:

  • Create a special panel to review cases and provide direct compensation to impacted individuals.
  • Create a partnership with cities and community organizations to create an immediate economic relief programs of $165 million for impacted businesses and organizations. I am the chief author of this provision.
  • Give local units of government flexibility and tools to prevent gentrification.
  • Direct the Minnesota Department of Commerce to assist business owners, and require insurance companies to notify the department of any rejected claims.
  • Help with the rising cost of leases for eligible residential and commercial properties.
  • Provide property and sales tax cuts for eligible properties as they rebuild.
  • Establish a “Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Corporation” to create a long-term plan for equity-driven redevelopment and transformation.
  • Establish a panel to review the decision making during the civil unrest by police, military, city, and state leaders.

I’m pleased that the House moved swiftly on this very important initiative for our Twin Cities neighbors. It has now been sent to the Senate.


Education Policy Bill

I’m also grateful the Education Policy bill passed in the House today. The House Education Policy Committee, that I chair, worked very hard on a larger bill this year. Unfortunately, COVID caused us to trim down the package. The legislation passed the House tonight 117 to 9 and the Senate 67 to 0. The bill provides for mental health training for teachers, supports for our special education teachers and students, vaping-prevention instruction for students, and expanded access to alternative academic and behavioral support services. It also has very important provision that will keep our youngest learners in school by limiting, except in extreme cases, suspension of pre-school student. While I’m glad we passed these provisions, we still have so much more work to do for our students to make sure that school is a welcoming environment for everyone. I’m committed to continuing this work throughout the summer and fall.

Input on Distance Learning Experience Needed

The Minnesota Department of Education is starting to create a plan for what school could look like next fall and they are seeking input from parents and guardians. Please share your experience with MDE by taking this survey, which will remain open until June 30. 

Stay in Touch

As I am writing this, the Legislature is still meeting to work out final compromises on strong COVID-19 responses. We’re down to the final wire as we have until 7 a.m. to complete our work.

Contact me at with questions or input.

Be well.