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

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Legislative Update- April 9, 2021

Friday, April 9, 2021

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well. Legislators returned from the customary mid-session Easter/Passover recess and have begun to vet the policy and budget bills and pass them out of individual committees onto the Ways and Means Committee.

This week, my House colleagues and I released our tax, education, labor, workforce, and public safety and criminal justice reform budget bills, which contain significant ongoing investments in education and prioritizes economic assistance to those most impacted by COVID-19. Committees are marking up and discussing budget bills, in addition to receiving public input on the proposals. Both the Education Finance Committee and the Tax Committee, which I serve on, spent the week hearing final public testimony and considering amendments. On Thursday, we voted both of those bills out of committee onto the Ways and Means Committee.

Next week, we will spend time on the House floor hearing these legislative packages and voting on our final versions which will then head to conference committee. In conference committees, five members of the House and five members of the Senate will compare the versions of the bills and come to an agreement on a final bill to send back to their respective floors. The members of the conference committees are appointed by leadership in the House and Senate; they usually consist of the chair of the committee, as well as other committee members. The only stipulation is that a legislator has to have voted 'yes' on the bill on the House or Senate floor to be considered for appointment to a conference committee.

Here’s an overview a few of the House’s finance and policy bills:

Taxes & Property Taxes

We’re prioritizing families, workers, and small businesses in our tax budget for the state. Here’s a high level look at how:

  • Extending Working Family Tax Credit;
  • Adopting conformity on unemployment insurance and PPP loans;
  • Utilizing a County Business Relief Aid program to deliver financial support for small businesses that did not receive a PPP loan or make a profit last year (that I was proud to author);
  • Eligibility for bigger property tax refunds and renters credit (also proud to author);
  • Ensuring Minnesota taxes stay in our state by preventing multinational corporations from sheltering profits in offshore tax havens.

Under our tax plan, we create more fairness to ensure families, workers, and small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19 are not left behind. I was glad to contribute to the property tax portion of this bill in my role as Property Tax Chair. You can read a research summary brief from the nonpartisan House Research Department here. Click here to view tax bill spreadsheets. 





The House DFL’s E-12 education budget stabilizes school investments with a 2 percent per pupil increase each of the next two years with additional increases the following two years so schools can do long-term strategic planning and be confident that they will have the resources they need. Under the proposal, voluntary Pre-Kindergarten programming that would otherwise expire is protected for 4,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners. House DFLers are also prioritizing the needs of students and teachers after an unprecedented year with funding for full-service community schools, individualized tutoring, and mental health support as well as increased training opportunities for teachers and paraprofessionals (I was proud to author). The House DFL E-12 budget also funds the Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers Act, which expands legislative efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color and American Indian Teachers. You can read the research summary brief from the nonpartisan House Research Department here.


Labor & Workforce Development

The House DFL Labor and Industry budget protects Minnesota workers during the pandemic and beyond. It includes Earned Sick and Safe Time legislation, rehire and retention protections for workers laid off during the pandemic, and emergency paid sick leave for health care workers. It also includes the Safe Workplaces for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers Act to address health and safety concerns, many of which existed before COVID-19 and only grew worse during the pandemic. You can read the nonpartisan research summary brief on the Labor and Industry budget here.


The Workforce and Business Development budget establishes a framework designed to inform Minnesota’s economic stabilization and long-term recovery. The legislation will strengthen business competitiveness, workforce development, and improve workplace benefits. Businesses in need of financial relief will qualify for grants to combat lost revenues related to the disruption of business operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill will provide long-term investment in business and workforce growth, workplace benefits, and childcare business development. You can read the nonpartisan research summary brief on the Workforce and Business Development budget here.

Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform

The legislation contains significant new investments in tools for law enforcement, including $10 million for local police to issue body-worn cameras, reform training, and update policy manuals. While including these important investments, it also builds upon the work of the Minnesota Police Accountability Act, enacted in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd. Additionally, it allows local units of government to establish civilian oversight councils and funds community organizations working to prevent crime in their communities while addressing the need for community healing after a traumatic event. It also makes other public safety investments in our Department of Corrections. You can read a research summary brief from the nonpartisan House Research Department here.

Public Safety

Vaccination Update

The eligibility for vaccines recently expanded in response to the increased federal government supply expected to arrive in Minnesota this month. Governor Walz announced this week more than three million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.

If you haven’t received your vaccination, take a look at Minnesota’s COVID-19, call 833-431-2053 or check with your health insurance carrier to help you find out when, where, and how to get a vaccine.

You can learn the most recent statistics on who is getting vaccinating and other key data by clicking on this link.


Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council Funding

Approximately $100 million is available in grants, approved by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, to aid Minnesota habitat restoration, preservation, and enhancement in our community. The process is competitive and open to all who wish to apply.

Proposal requirements and terms of funding are outlined in the Call for Funding Request. To view details or learn more, visit: For answers to specific questions, contact LSOHC Staff:

Requests are due to the LSOHC by Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 4 p.m. The funds for approved programs signed into law during the 2022 legislative session will be available Thursday, July 1, 2022.

Visit to Alice Smith Elementary

Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Hopkins’ Alice Smith Elementary School’s new Principal, Eduardo Navidad. Wonderful energy! As an immigrant who came to this country as a young child, he understands how vital it is that we meet the unique needs of all of our students, no matter where they live or what they look like. During the summer, a few walls were torn down to open up the 5th and 6th grade classrooms for collaborative learning. It was also fun to visit the Kaleidoscope pre-school classroom that has been added to the elementary school. Thank you for taking the time to show me around Alice Smith Elementary today, Principal Navidad!






Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime with questions or input at or 651-296-9889 as we move through this next phase of session. Remote operations in the House continue, so email is the quickest way to reach me. Thank you for the honor of serving our Hopkins and St. Louis Park neighbors at the State Capitol.

Have a nice weekend!

Be well,


Cheryl Youakim

State Representative