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

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Special Session Update- Bipartisan Progress on the State Budget

Friday, June 25, 2021

Rep. Youakim


Dear Neighbors,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying summer. It’s hard to believe June is nearly over! Last week, the House and Senate gaveled in for a special session to continue our work wrapping up the two-year state budget. We’re making good headway in completing each major area of the budget ahead of July 1, despite the time consuming House Republican filibustering that took place last week. Here’s a look at what we’ve passed:


The compromise bill focuses on addressing the climate crisis and protecting Minnesota consumers from those who seek to take advantage of them. It invests in several clean energy initiatives that will reduce Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions and create well-paying jobs, tackles catalytic converter theft, and establishes a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights to protect students from predatory lending practices, to name a few good provisions within the budget.

Notably, the catalytic converter theft provision increases reporting requirements for scrap metal dealers when purchasing a catalytic converter. The provision gives law enforcement, scrap metal dealers, and consumers ways to deter thefts by adding identification numbers and unique markers to make it harder to sell stolen parts. Neighbors in Hopkins and St. Louis Park especially have been impacted by the uptick in theft, and I’ve received correspondences from constituents asking us to address this problem. The Minnesota Department of Commerce will also be directed to create a pilot project to identify the vehicles most likely to be targeted by theft and establish a process to label those catalytic converters with unique identification numbers using labels, engravings, paint, or other methods.

You can read more about the bill here.


Commerce and Energy



The compromise agriculture budget recognizes the value Minnesotans place on clean water, soil, and air, and looks to the future of farming in Minnesota. The budget invests in emerging farmer outreach, urban and youth agriculture, the Farm-to-School initiative, Good Food Access, and funding for environmentally-friendly production practices and conservation techniques. I was proud to support this area of the budget.


Higher Education

The higher education portion of the budget we passed includes measures to help students recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future workforce. In the bill, we passed investments to the State Grant Program, impacting approximately 75,000 students across the state and increasing accessibility to nearly 3,000 grant applicants.

We also listened to the concerns of many students who testified publicly about the need for more mental health and wellness support on campus. In response, the bill has investments in mental health resources, addresses food insecurity on our college campuses, supports z-degrees to help reduce the cost of textbooks and course materials for students, and contains emergency grant assistance to meet food, housing, and transportation needs. Learn more about the budget bill here.

Higher Ed


The Legacy bill invests in protecting and enhancing Minnesota's outdoor heritage, clean water, arts and cultural heritage, and parks and trails. It also contains water safety grants, including funding to provide scholarships to low-income and at-risk children. Investing in these priorities will benefit current and future generations. Since 2010, the Legacy Amendment has generated more than $4 billion for initiatives that benefit people and communities, making our state an even better place to live and work.



On Wednesday, the House advanced the transportation budget, which invests in our transportation infrastructure across the state by funding improvements for road safety, transit development and services, bridge replacements, freight and passenger rail projects, as well as active transportation modes, like pedestrian walkways and bike trails. The compromise transportation budget notably invests $57.5 million in arterial Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). While I’m disappointed the Republican-led Senate were unwilling to discuss sustainable strategies for ongoing investments in transportation, this bill is truly a win for Minnesotans using all modes of transportation to get where they need to go.



Yesterday, the Minnesota House approved the Housing budget, which funds a variety of initiatives aimed at helping create more affordable housing, and provisions to ensure Minnesotans are safely and stably housed. An orderly “off-ramp” to the current eviction moratorium is included and provides renters and landlords with the time to take advantage of federal housing assistance funds, with the off-ramp concluding 105 days after enactment. Landlords will be required to send a notice to renters with outstanding rent 15 days prior to eviction. In addition, renters with an outstanding rental assistance claim cannot be evicted and will have that protection until June 1, 2022. The housing budget also contains $100 million in housing infrastructure bonds.


Remaining Budget Bills

What remains? Friday, today, we are on the House floor discussing the Environment Finance & Policy bill, as well as the Jobs bill. Tomorrow, we will be taking up the E-12 Education Finance & Policy bill and begin the start of a Health & Human Services Finance & Policy bill and the Bonding bill. That leaves the State Government Finance & Policy bill, the Public Safety & Judiciary Finance & Policy bill, and the Tax bill. The only one of those three that does not have an agreement as of yet is the Public Safety & Judiciary Finance & Policy bill. We keep working hard to find compromise with the Senate to make sure we pass our state budget before the mandated June 30 deadline.

Shady Oak Beach and Rec Center Pool

are Open!

Shady Oak Beach in Hopkins opened for the season on June 11 and will remain open to the public until August 22. Check out more details, including how to reserve a picnic shelter and more here.

The Rec Center Pool in St. Louis Park has also reopened for the summer. Hours, entry fees, and more information about the Aquatic Park’s features are available here.

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and everyone should be able to enjoy time in the water safely. Unfortunately this season, too many Minnesotans have tragically lost their lives as a result of drowning. Here are some tips from the Minnesota DNR so everyone can enjoy the water safely on a boat, at the beach, or in a pool.

Additionally, tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation will be handing out 50 brand-new Coast Guard-approved lifejackets in a variety of sizes to swimmers at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. The event is taking place to promote the usage of these U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation devices while swimming.

Hopkins Farmers’ Market

The Hopkins Farmers’ Market is open! Enjoy a Saturday morning this summer through the end of October to find fresh produce and check out the local vendors and entrepreneurs. More details here.




Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime with questions or input at or 651-296-9889. Although the Capitol is now officially back open to the public, email is the quickest way I can be reached.

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

Be well,


Cheryl Youakim

State Representative