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

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Legislative Update- February 5, 2021

Friday, February 5, 2021

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you well.

With the temperature dropping below zero this weekend, I want to share information about Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program. No one deserves to be in the cold because they can’t afford their heating bills, and help is available with utility bills, to repair or replace homeowners’ malfunctioning furnaces, and to purchase fuel for delivery in emergencies. Homeowners and renters with young children, people with disabilities, veterans, seniors and those experiencing unemployment or financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are especially encouraged to apply.

In 2020, the EAP helped nearly 118,000 Minnesota households. New applicants have until May 31, 2021 to apply, however funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis. More information is available from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Additionally, the state’s Cold Weather Rule is in effect until April 15 which prevents utility shut-offs if you sign up for a payment plan with your energy provider. More information on these protections is available from the Public Utilities Commission.

Upcoming Virtual Community Conversation

We’ll gather online for our next virtual Community Conversation on February 9 at 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP to my legislative assistant Eric, at Hearing from you is a vital part of this work, and I’m always grateful for your input and questions.


Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Meeting-February 17

On Wednesday, February 17 at 6:30 p.m., Senator Latz, House Majority Leader Winkler and I will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting to hear input and questions from community members. We’ll live stream the event on my Facebook page, discussing our efforts in the legislature and taking questions from the community. I hope you can join us!



Expanding Youth Access to Mental Health Resources

In current law a 16 and 17 year-old is allowed to check themselves into an inpatient facility of their own accord but cannot access the help of a mental health professional in an outpatient setting without parental permission. This week, I was honored to present a bill to the Behavior Health Committee that would remove this barrier for our youths. I would like to thank the amazing high school advocates, from Mental Health Matters and the MNYouthCouncil, who brought me the idea for the bill and testified for the bill in committee. They have shown how important it is to have youth voices at the table when we are crafting public policy.

Small Business Owner Webinar

On Wednesday, Feb. 17 at noon, Main Street Alliance will be hosting a webinar where small business owners can get an overview of resources and some questions answered.  Small business owners in our community are encouraged to attend. They can register for the event here.


Our work continues at the Minnesota House. Here’s a look at some of the proposals introduced and moving through the committee process:

Protecting our Hometown Heroes

We all know about the dangerous situations firefighters encounter when they answer the call to action, but their risk of harm isn’t limited to emergency scenes. Firefighters also face alarmingly high incidence of cancer, cardiac issues, and emotional trauma. I’m the chief author of the Hometown Heroes Act, a bill to help our frontline workers address the impacts from these problems, which are only made worse by COVID-19. It establishes “Critical Care” grants for Minnesota firefighters diagnosed with cancer or cardiac issues, as well as an Employee Assistance Program to help firefighters with the emotional trauma issues unique to their occupation. I’m proud to support this effort that we announced at our press conference this week, which Kare 11 highlighted yesterday.

Earned Sick and Safe Time for Minnesota Workers

No one should have to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one and a paycheck. That’s why I co-authored the House DFL’s new bill to expand Earned Sick and Safe Time. The bill aims to provide an important short-term benefit to workers by allowing them to accrue sick time based on the number of hours that they work. The impossible choice between a paycheck and taking time off to care for a sick child is a real problem in Minnesota, especially for low-wage workers and those in the service industry. This requirement has several key additional benefits, including healthier workplaces and schools, greater support for caregivers, and reduced health care costs. I will continue to support this critical legislation.

Earned Sick and Safe Time

Adult-Use Cannabis Measure Introduced

Earlier this week, some of my House colleagues introduced legislation that would legalize adult-use cannabis in Minnesota. The legislation would create a regulated cannabis market while addressing concerns around youth access, public health, and road safety. You can read more about the bill here.


A Look at Next Week

I excited to relay that I have three bills up in the House next week. On Tuesday, I have a bill up in Taxes that requires the Department of Revenue to study what type of public/private partnerships can be put into place to allow all Minnesotans to file their state income tax online for free. On Thursday, I have a bill up in Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform that would provide funds to train police officers on how to work with folks who have Alzheimer’s, the sense of urgency when they go missing, and in growing our missing person alert network. On Friday, in the same committee, I have the Hometown Heroes Act (see above) up and could not be more excited about getting this important program the funding that it needs.

Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime at or 651-296-9889 with input, ideas, or questions. As we work remotely in the House, email is the quickest way to reach me.

Thank you for the honor of serving our Hopkins and St. Louis Park residents and families in the Minnesota House!

Stay well,


Cheryl Youakim

State Representative