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

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Legislative Update- December 18, 2020

Friday, December 18, 2020

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

To say 2020 has been a rough year is an understatement. The pandemic has laid bare the wealth, health, and education inequities that exist- and while we’re all in the same storm, we all aren’t in the same boat. With unemployment benefits to run out on December 26, businesses struggling to stay open, and no support from the federal government, we had to act quickly at the state level to provide immediate relief to bridge us to a larger, federal aid package.

Our working families urgently need help, and in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Legislature approved a new economic assistance package designed to help small businesses, workers, and other Minnesotans struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key components of the legislation that’s been signed into law include:

  • A 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. Without this legislative action, over 100,000 Minnesota workers were on track to lose benefits on December 26 when funding under the federal CARES Act expires.
  • $88 million of financial aid to businesses experiencing economic harm due to the pandemic. Those eligible businesses include restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, wineries and distilleries with taprooms or tasting rooms, caterers, bowling alleys, and some gyms and fitness centers.
  • $14 million worth of grants to movie theaters and large convention centers.
  • $114.8 million for county grants to other affected businesses, including hotels, museums, arcades and live theater venues.
  • Waiver or delay of a series of fees for the hospitality industry, including 2 a.m. liquor licenses for bars, caterers that serve alcohol, wastewater permitting fees for small breweries, and certain late payment penalties for food related businesses.
  • Extension of the deadline for families to apply for free and reduced-price lunch.

Folks can go here to learn more about applying for or extending unemployment benefits. Application timing and criteria for businesses grants will be announced soon and details will be posted to the Hennepin County’s website as they are available. 




Next Steps on COVID-19

Governor Walz announced this week next steps in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on education, businesses, and protecting statewide hospital access. You can read more about these measures here.


MnDOT’s Inaugural Name a Snowplow Contest

As the winter temperatures settle in, and we await a substantial snow fall, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has launched a fun and interactive contest online. During the season, MnDOT will be officially naming eight snowplows – one in each of the MnDOT districts to spread the love across the state. Share your wit and punny ideas here by January 22.



Keep in Touch

Although the holidays look different this year, I wish you and your family a peaceful and joyful season. Be safe and stay well.


Please contact me anytime at or 651-296-9889 with input and questions. I appreciate hearing from you and am grateful for the opportunity to help when I can.



Cheryl Youakim

State Representative