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

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Legislative Update- April 16, 2021

Friday, April 16, 2021

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

My thoughts are with Daunte Wright’s family, his loved ones, and all who are grieving his death at the hands of the police. My heart is with our communities that have experienced so much trauma over the last year. My soul is searching for hope and healing. Daunte Wright’s death provides further evidence that we need comprehensive police reform and accountability. We also need to make sure our law enforcement officers have the training they need to do their jobs so that more mothers do not lose their children. More importantly, we need to address the systemic racism that is pervasive in many parts of our society.

The Legislature passed several new laws after the murder of George Floyd – including a tougher standard for when police can use deadly force, bans on “warrior training” and choke holds, a duty to intercede, and expanded training requirements – but there’s more work to be done in this area. Members of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus and the United Black Legislative Caucus (UBLC) are leading efforts to ensure that every Minnesotan is safe and able to make it home at the end of the day, including our officers, no matter where they live or what they look like.


Public Safety


House DFLers have several police accountability and reform bills that are ready to be voted on, including the Public Safety bill (HF 1078) I mentioned in my last email. I am supporting legislation that would:

  • Allow local governments to establish civilian oversight councils
  • Support community organizations working to prevent crime
  • Prohibit altering, destroying, or withholding body camera footage
  • Prohibit white supremacists from becoming peace officers
  • Limit the use of no-knock warrants
  • Strengthen the police officer misconduct database and build a more effective early warning system to identify officers who should leave the profession
  • Limit police officers’ authority to stop or detain drivers for certain minor violations like expired tabs

Please check in on one another, and continue to be kind. Minnesota’s 2020 Social Studies Teacher of the Year, our very own Kara Cisco who teaches 9th grade civics at St. Louis Park High School, recently shared a lesson plan online titled “Justice for Daunte Wright and the Red Summer of 1919”. The history lesson highlights the struggles of our country with civil unrest at that time after a similar pandemic (the Spanish Flu) and at the end of the Great War. If you’re interested in checking out, you can review it here.

Community Event

Our Hopkins and St. Louis Park communities are invited to join the Minnetonka Community for a gathering to listen and reflect. Grace Apostolic Church is hosting the following event:

We Are Better Together: From Healing to Hope

A Community Conversation

Tuesday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

The event will be led by Minnetonka Resident Community leaders, Grace Apostolic Church, Minnetonka Collective and the Minnetonka Police Department. Please RSVP with your name and email to Karen Hendrickson, at

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 550 956 5872 Passcode: GAC One tap mobile +19292056099,,5509565872# US (New York) +13017158592,,5509565872# US (Washington DC) Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) Meeting ID: 550 956 5872 Find your local number:

Budget Bills Advance

Yesterday on the House Floor we started the process of debating and voting on the bills that encompass a new state budget. Here are some highlights from the legislation we approved yesterday and are considering today.

Investing in Safe, Affordable Housing

All Minnesotans deserve to have a safe, secure place to call home. Our state was experiencing an affordable housing crisis well before the pandemic. That crisis has intensified, and more than half a million Minnesotans are currently facing housing insecurity. Our strong Housing Budget would increase the housing supply, connect more people with homeownership opportunities, and help close the state’s racial homeownership gap. The legislation also gives renters more power and addresses eviction risks and practices that disproportionately impact BIPOC households. I’m pleased to report that the House passed this bill yesterday.


Enhancing and Protecting Minnesota’s

Outdoor Heritage

The Omnibus Legacy Budget was also approved yesterday. This measure invests in protecting and enhancing Minnesota's outdoor heritage, clean water, arts and cultural heritage, and parks and trails. Since 2010, the Legacy Amendment has generated significant funding for initiatives benefiting people and communities across Minnesota; taking important steps to address racial and cultural inequalities and ensure benefits for all Minnesotans. We are proud of our beautiful outdoors, clean water, and arts and culture and these investments will benefit current and future generations.

Legacy Graphic

State Government, Elections and Veterans

As our state continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Government, Elections, and Veterans bill includes investments in the responsive state government Minnesotans deserve to meet this moment and assist in our economic recovery. Now is no time to cut critical services that are going to help us build back better. The bill also invests in Minnesota’s veterans with additional funding for our state veterans homes, funding to help end veteran homelessness, strategies to prevent veteran suicide, and a pathway for veterans who have been charged with crimes stemming from service-related trauma to get mental health or substance abuse help as an alternative to incarceration. And, the legislation includes several provisions to strengthen our democracy and elections, including those to solidify and expand Minnesota’s nation-leading election administration system. These measures include provisions restoring the vote to ex-offenders on probation, making Minnesota’s Automatic Voter Registration more efficient and effective, and reforming Minnesota’s campaign finance disclosure system to make it more transparent.



Minnesotans expect our roads and bridges to be safe and efficient, but all across the state, our transportation infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Many bridges are near collapse. Our transportation budget makes direct investments in transportation to address the long-term safety risk posed by our aging roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure. It also dedicates funding to a Small City Street Fund for cities under a population of 5,000. The bill helps Minnesota grow our multimodal transportation system to help people get where they need to go no matter where they live, with investments in including pedestrian and bike infrastructure, transit investments in both the metro and greater Minnesota, road safety improvements, rail projects, and more.


Vaccine Update

Last week, we received encouraging news that Minnesota has administered over 3 million COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a race between the virus variants and getting as many shots into arms as possible to beat this pandemic. Although the state is following federal guidance to take a pause on Johnson and Johnson administrations, we are in good shape for getting back to normal, hopefully by this summer. Anyone who currently has an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should watch for a notification from their provider about canceling, postponing, or rescheduling the appointment. If your appointment is cancelled, you can look for other vaccination appointments through the Vaccine Locator map, local pharmacies or your health care provider.

Let’s stay vigilant by practicing public health guidelines to help keep each other safe and healthy. We can mask up, wash our hands frequently and thoroughly, maintain a distance, and stay home when we don’t feel good. No-barrier COVID testing is still available. Every individual action we take now will help our collective efforts to close this challenging and painful chapter of our global history.





Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime at or 651-296-9889 with questions or input. I am hopeful this will be our last remote legislative session; however, as we currently continue to operate like this for the remainder of session, email is the best way to reach me.

Enjoy the sunny weather this weekend and be well!


Cheryl Youakim

State Representative