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

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Legislative Update- December 21, 2023

Thursday, December 21, 2023
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Dear Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the holiday season! I love this time of the year; it’s a time to reflect, recharge, and spend quality time with family and loved ones. I wish you and yours a beautiful holiday and a special New Year. 

This fall, I received my short-call teacher substitute license and have been spending time subbing as a teacher in our schools. While I have been a substitute paraprofessional over the last six years, substitute teaching has provided a new challenge. Both jobs have given me an opportunity to be in our classrooms and to see the incredible work our public schools are doing to educate our students and meet them where they are at.

The 2024 legislative session is just around the corner, slated to begin February 12. I have been busy meeting with organizations, advocates, local electeds, and others to hear about their success, challenges, and thoughts for the upcoming session. I want to also hear about the issues that are most important to you. That’s why I want to share with you our Minnesota Values Project Survey, an easy way to share your values, hopes, challenges, and ideas on solutions with us at the legislature. It only takes a few minutes to complete and can be found here. Thank you!

I’m also excited to announce my series of Community Conversations. Mark your calendars! Here are the dates, times, and locations:

Hopkins Public Library:

  • Saturday, Jan. 13 from 10:30-12:00 p.m.
    Saturday, Feb. 24 from 10:30 a.m. – Noon

Edina Public Library:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 24 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Wednesday, March 6 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

St. Louis Park Library:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 7 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    Saturday, March 9 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Public library



Updating Minnesota’s Flag & Seal

Minnesota has a new state flag! The outdated and busy flag we retired had prompted a multi-year advocacy effort of Minnesotans to design a new flag; one that is truly representative of the best of our state and one we can all be proud of. A seal has been chosen also. The new designs will take effect on Statehood Day, May 11th. 

New Flag


New Seal


New Laws Take Effect

Last session we passed life-changing legislation that will help Minnesotans across Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Edina, and our state. You can find a list of our laws that went into effect on July 1 and August 1 from the nonpartisan Office of House Public Information.

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Minnesota’s earned sick and safe time law requires employers to provide one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked and can earn a maximum of 48 hours each year unless the employer agrees to a higher amount. An employee is eligible for sick and safe time if they work at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in Minnesota, and are not an independent contractor. More information is on the Department of Labor and Industry’s page here.


Catalytic Converter Theft Declining

Since the pandemic, catalytic converter theft has been steadily on the rise nationally, causing financial hardship and headaches to Minnesotans having to replace them. This year, Minnesota was one of 42 states to enact a new law with stronger penalties for catalytic converter theft, including policy measures that make it more difficult for thieves to sell back these stolen auto parts to scrap dealers. The Pioneer Press reported has an article on how this is impacting our capital city with theft rates down 95%. We’re also seeing a decline statewide due to increased metal prices.

Statistics of catalytic converter theft decline

I’ve heard from many neighbors in the west metro about the urgency to find solutions to this growing problem, and I’m glad we were able to pass a strong, bipartisan bill to help bring these theft rates down.


Connected to Community

Last month's local elections took place and resulted in the United States' first Somali American elected as mayor of a U.S. city- our very own St. Louis Park. Nadia Mohamed comes with an impressive background having served previously on the City Council, and earning the City's Human Rights Award in 2018, and working in public administration. We also had a variety of newly elected school board and city councilors elected in our communities. St. Louis Park had a school board race, and Hopkins had an uncontested school board race with four candidates for four seats. Hopkins also had a city council race which ended in a recount and a two point victory. Edina had an uncontested schoolboard race with three candidates for three open seats. Thank you to all the candidates who filed to run and all those who voted in our local elections! Voting is civic engagement in its purest form.

Celebrating Mayor Nadia

I recently toured a local pharmacy in our area to hear about the amazing work they are doing to keep our communities healthy and at an affordable price. Thank you, Luke Slindee for the invitation and for educating me on the many facets of our locally owned pharmacies. 

Center Drug

I also had the opportunity to receive the 2023 Legislative Award in recognition of my work and support of the BARR Center (Building Assets, Reducing Risks), which focuses on improving school culture and student outcomes with an evidence-based system. With the legislation I passed, 18 new Minnesota schools were able to implement BARR!

BARR Center Award

I had a great visit at the Bakken Museum in November to learn about the many educational opportunities they provide. I will definitely be making another visit on my personal time to enjoy the exhibits.

Bakken Museum logo

I also toured Intermediate District 287 to hear about their amazing work they are doing with our students who have greater needs. The budget bill we passed this session came with more opportunities to meet their students where they are at. A big thank you to all those who work across the state in our Intermediate and Cooperative schools!

ISD 287

I was honored to host the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee in Hopkins last month as part of their statewide bonding tour, visiting sites and projects for proposed investment in a 2024 Bonding bill.

The City is requesting help to fund two Hopkins' projects – the installation of a sprinkler system at Dow Towers, and two park buildings that will serve as recreation and resilience hubs for the West Metro. I’ll be carrying these requests next session to invest in these valuable Hopkins’ projects.

Bonding tour stop in Hopkins

I also appreciated having the chance to see firsthand the work of Vail Place in Hopkins, a community resource center for adults with mental illnesses. They help with a variety of resources including essential daily living services (housing, employment, health and wellness, etc.); and connections to other critical community resources (medical, dental, benefits, etc.). 

VAIL place

In December, I attended Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Women In Business Annual Luncheon hosted at Starkey in Eden Prairie. It's always a wonderful opportunity to talk with women business owners across the state. We heard from the folks at Starkey and were able to learn more about what they are doing to help Minnesotans experiencing hearing loss.

Starkey photo

The Holiday in Hopkins on Small Business Saturday was a success! I did some shopping to support our Mainstreet local businesses, visited the Hopkins Art Gallery, and enjoyed the Christmas tree lighting. I love a community that works hard to bring people together!

Holiday event in Hopkins

I recently had a chance to try a great new coffee shop in on Hopkins Mainstreet called Pangos. It was wonderful ambiance, great coffee, and delicious empanadas! We are lucky to have them here in our Hopkins community.


I'm grateful to Mayor Jake Spano for his years of dedicated service to the City of St. Louis Park! The incredible, innovative, and compassionate servant leader who knows how to get things done will be missed. It was fun to watch the community celebrate his body of community work on Monday night.

Celebrating Jake Spano


Keep in Touch

Please continue to contact me anytime at or 651-296-9889 if you have questions or need assistance. Email is the quickest way to get in touch.

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

Happy Holidays!

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Cheryl Youakim
State Representative