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

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Legislative Update- February 10, 2023

Friday, February 10, 2023
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Dear Neighbors,

Thank you to everyone who attended our District 46 Town Hall on Wednesday this week! We had excellent attendance. We heard from neighbors on a variety of issues from education funding to working on the overuse of salt on our roads. A common thread: keep passing bills and getting the work done! I’m so proud to represent our engaged communities of Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Edina.


If you couldn’t make it on Wednesday, I hope you’ll be able to join me for my Community Conversation tomorrow, Saturday 11 from 10:30 a.m.- noon.


The pace hasn’t slowed and we’re working with efficiency and thoughtful consideration as we are moving forward with important initiatives to help Minnesotans. We have had bills working through the process for earned sick and safe leave, paid family leave, emergency funding for food shelves, childcare tax credits, and much more.

In between committee time this week, I had a chance to meet with constituents visiting the Capitol from the Minnesota Society of Anesthesiologists. These visits are always an opportunity to learn from folks working in important roles in our community.


On Thursday, I had a pleasant surprise when our Edina Fire Chief Andrew Slama testified in the House Tax Committee on a provision in the Governor’s technical tax bill. Afterwards, we had a chance to touch base on the work that our Edina Fire Department is doing for the community.


I also had a chance to meet with a group of athletic trainers to talk about the scope of practice. And, had the opportunity to visit with a student from Edina, Lucky Hawes, who is spending the week as part of the high school page program. The Minnesota House High School Page Program is a great way for students to see democracy close up. There is a different group every week during the legislative session.


This morning I met with the nutrition folks from Hastings Public Schools that are on strike. They are SEIU members and want the district to come back to the negotiating table. The district's offer of a 2% increase is less than 30 cents an hour. Their starting wage is $13.32 an hour. These are the folks who feed our kids and stepped up during COVID to continue feeding them when they were learning from home. They are also the same folks that are excluded from collecting unemployment. Kare 11 covered a story you can read here for more details. 


This week, I had a chance to present two bills I'm chief authoring in the House. HF 806 had a hearing in the Education Policy Committee and HF 795 the House Education Finance Committee that I chair.

HF 806 invests funds for a grant to the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) Center for an evidence-based, research-validated program. The BARR Center provides schools with coaching support, professional development, and other resources to develop strong relationships with students over three years. They also help teachers dive deep into data to figure out the barriers their students are having and how to best remove them. The BARR Center grew out of a program that Angela Jerabek developed in the St. Louis Park Schools. The funding would help the BARR Center provide funding to move into 30 more schools in Minnesota.


HF 795 is a bill that allows our students in residential and day treatment centers licensed by our Department of Human Services or the Department of Corrections to tap into a funding stream for educational opportunities. These are students that may need help with credit recovery and summer programming. Currently, the schools that provide those supports cannot access funding to provide educational support outside the normal school day. This bill would change that.


In Education Finance, we also had an evening hearing for HF20 that would give our hourly school workers the ability to access unemployment when they are laid off. The current statute bars them from being able to apply for the program. We heard moving testimony from our school paras, bus drivers, and nutrition workers who have been barred from this benefit.

In the Taxes Committee, we had a robust conversation about expanding the working family credit as well as creating an additional child tax credit. We are looking at ways to get money back into families' pockets when they need it the most.


Floor Action

Justice Bills

The House recently passed two bipartisan bills that would ensure Minnesotans have access to appropriate counsel in our public defense system and our counties can access long overdue funding to address violent crime across the state.

The first piece of legislation we passed is designed to adequately fund Minnesota’s public defense system. Minnesota’s public defense system has been chronically underfunded for decades. It increases funding to help Minnesota meet national standards for caseloads, as well as providing fair salaries for public defense staff.

The second bill would, with additional public safety investments, and in partnership with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, would allow the Attorney General’s office to provide supports to our counties to try cases involving violent crime. These offenses, including crimes like assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, human trafficking, sex trafficking, homicide, and more, are an assault on our communities and our society. 

Fighting Food Insecurity

Last night, the Minnesota House voted to pass two important bills aimed at addressing food insecurity in our schools and community. HF 5 would create a state program for schools to provide breakfast and lunch every school day to every child. This has the added benefit of removing complicated forms and streamlining the way food is delivered in our schools. It is hard for students to learn on an empty stomach. You can watch my House Floor remarks on the bill here. We also passed HF 213 that would provide an investment of $5 million of one-time money for food shelf programs in light of record numbers of visits to food shelves last year.  



Keep in Touch

Please continue to contact me anytime at or 651-296-9889 with questions, feedback, or ideas. Email is the quickest way to get in touch. For scheduling a meeting, you may reach out to my legislative assistant Shamat, at

I hope to see you on Saturday!

Have a great weekend,


Cheryl Youakim
State Representative