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

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New laws take effect today

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

The new month brings several new laws that will take effect today. The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act is one of these, named after Alec Smith, a 26-year old man who tragically died because he was forced to ration his insulin. The new law will help ensure people with diabetes can access the insulin they need to live in an emergency situation, and to create a long-term path to access affordable insulin. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies have decided to file a lawsuit to block the bill from being enacted. You can read about that here. You can read more about the new law and others here.

Education Hearings on Distance Learning

As the House Education Policy Chair, I have been having conversations since April regarding the pivot to distance learning with school administrators, teachers, and students across the state. After those discussions, I initiated a series of three joint committee hearings with my House Education Finance colleagues to gather input on how distance learning went, how summer school is proceeding, and what challenges and opportunities schools are facing with a fall start to school. It was important to me that my colleagues also heard from parents, teachers, students, administrators, and the Minnesota Department of Education about the impacts of distance learning.

With still so much uncertainty around COVID-19 remaining, we discussed what school could look like in the fall – whether K-12 schools will fully reopen, if distance learning will continue, or if some sort of a hybrid will be introduced. School districts are currently trying to plan for all three scenarios. Inequities have been exacerbated throughout the school year since the onset of the virus, and that was a common theme between all who testified. You can read more about our discussion here.


CARES Funding Distributed

Last week, Governor Walz announced a plan to deliver $841 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to Minnesota’s cities, counties, and towns. Our local units of government have prepared for and responded to COVID-19, keeping Minnesotans safe. This federal funding will help ensure they can continue to provide the services Minnesotans expect and deserve. Hopkins will receive approximately $1.48 million and St. Louis Park will get approximately $3.68 million. Funds will be distributed on a rolling basis and have begun this week.

AARP Survey

The AARP community survey seeks to inform the work of the Governor’s Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota, which is working to drive coordinated action across state agencies and move Minnesota toward being a more livable, age friendly state. The full survey can be taken by individual Minnesota residents, age 45+ through July 3, 2020.

Keep in Touch

After July 17, I will no longer be able to send these updates. Whether running or not, legislators cannot use state resources for unsolicited communications during an election period because it might create an unfair advantage. While I won’t be able to send out these updates for a while, you can still follow me on my legislative Facebook page. I’m still available to meet, help with state level problems, and discuss issues important to our community. Feel free to email me anytime at

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.