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

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Legislative Update- March 24, 2023

Friday, March 24, 2023
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Dear Neighbors,

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the beginning of Spring. Each day is filling with more light and that gives me optimism as we work toward a timely end of the session. During the week, House Committees were busy hearing their final roster of bills before crafting their larger finance and policy bills. For example, in the House Education Finance Committee, we met Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to hear a total of 23 bills.

Early this week, the House Speaker, Senate Majority Leader, and Governor reached an agreement on a framework for a new state budget. With Democratic leadership, we’ve been able to craft a budget nearly two months earlier. This means committees will have more time with their budget blueprint to carefully consider legislation rather than rushing to decide at the last minute. Beginning in April, committee work will conclude. We will be taking a brief legislative recess from April 5 through April 10. When we return, each chamber will pass their various budget bills off the House and Senate floor. You can learn more and find a list of the budget targets in each area of the state budget here.


Protecting Reproductive Rights for Everyone   

Earlier this week, the Minnesota House voted to pass legislation to protect reproductive freedom for Minnesotans and people across the country coming to Minnesota in need of access to the full range of reproductive health care options. Once law, the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act will guarantee out-of-state subpoenas, and court orders for records related to reproductive care cannot be weaponized for prosecution where such care is considered a crime.    

Earlier this session, we established a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions on reproductive care. However, many other states are passing or operating under laws that make it difficult or impossible to access reproductive health care, including every one of our bordering states. These laws can include criminal penalties for providers and patients, as well as restrictions on the types of care that can be provided. Because of this, we’re making sure that Minnesota laws are explicit about protections for both health professionals and patients. We will not allow other states to persecute people for simply seeking or providing reproductive health care.  



Making Minnesota a Trans Refuge State   

Early this morning, we voted to pass legislation with similar protections for our trans neighbors. With the passage of the Trans Refuge bill, we will make Minnesota an island of refuge for the trans community, who continue to face obscene levels of discrimination across the country. With our neighbors from the east, west, and south also threatening the lives and well-being of our trans neighbors, Minnesota will remain a safe place for those seeking gender-affirming care without fear of criminal penalty in states that have stripped these human rights. 

Some background: Floor session began promptly at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday with three bills on the calendar. One bill to access federal funds for renewable energy projects and another dealing with the Department of Corrections. Unfortunately, my colleagues across the aisle chose to take just short of nine hours to filibuster these bipartisan bills just to push off the trans refuge bill past midnight and delay committee hearings that were due to meet last night. Very disappointing.



Constituent Meetings

Throughout the busy week of activity, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with community members advocating on various issues. I met with the Edina Mayor and staff, an amazing group from the Rise Early Learning Childcare Center opening in St. Louis Park, a constituent to talk about education and charter school authorizers, and was interviewed by a group of student social workers on one of my bills. I also attended a press conference in support of ethnic studies curriculum, and met with a group of amazing Hopkins teachers regarding the need for education funding. 


Early in the week, a group of constituents from the Interfaith Housing Collaborative spoke with me about the need to invest in affordable housing. This is the year to make a substantial investment in making sure Minnesotans can afford a roof over their head.


I also had a surprise visit from community members visiting on AARP’s day at the Capitol. They came to urge the importance of passing Paid Family Medical Leave and investing in the health, wellbeing, and dignity of Minnesotans.


Finally, I had a chance to talk to a large group of incredible folks who are working in their communities to support their families in the areas of education, housing, and community supports. These are organizations working in Austin, Rochester, Northfield, Red Wing, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and St. Louis Park. 


Last, but not least, a special shout out to my husband for taking care of things at home and taking care of me during session. Last night our floor session lasted until 5:30 a.m. I got a few hours of sleep and woke up to a full tank of gas in my car and a nitro cold brew coffee in the fridge. Jacques, thank you for being such a fantastic partner, father, and teacher!


Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime at or 651-296-9889 with questions or input. Email is the quickest way to get in touch.

Thank you for the honor of representing our Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Edina neighbors at the State Capitol.

Have a great weekend!

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Cheryl Youakim
State Representative