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

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Legislative Update- March 15, 2024

Friday, March 15, 2024
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Dear Neighbors,

I hope you’re having a great week! With week five in the books of the legislative session, the policy deadline is around the corner. By Friday March 22, a bill that originates in a policy committee must be passed through each committee that has jurisdiction and move to either the floor or to a finance committee when the bill also includes a cost. By April 14, all bills in a finance committee must make their way to the Ways & Means Committee. House and Senate leadership are working on budget targets along with the executive branch. We hope to have those soon so that our finance committees can finalize their work.

A big thank you to all of the District 46 constituents who attended our Town Hall Meeting in St. Louis Park on Tuesday. We covered several topics and had a lot of great questions. Your input is the foundation of our work in St. Paul and I appreciate your input and suggestions. If you couldn’t make it, you’re welcome to watch a recording of the meeting here

ST. Louis Park Town Hall

Here’s an update from the Capitol:

With the policy deadline around the corner, this week has been extremely busy and we can anticipate many late night committees next week to wrap up legislation. The House Bonding bill will continue to take shape and will likely be the last item we get across the finish line before our constitutionally required date to adjourn on May 20. 

On Monday this week, the Minnesota House passed bipartisan legislation to combat price gouging, specifically for services utilized by a community after damaging storms. Minnesota’s most costly disaster year to date, 2022, had over $6 billion in damage. There was also over $3 billion of damage in 2017 and 2023 as more extreme weather events happen more often. The increased frequency of damaging weather events provides more opportunities for bad actors to drastically price gouge when cleaning up after a weather event, and DFLers are taking action to combat this immoral and costly practice.

On Thursday, the House approved my bill to adjust state K-12 forecasted funded programs to match the updated February 2024 budget forecast. The biggest changes in this bill are related to the overwhelming popularity of universal school breakfast and lunch programs, which DFLers enacted in 2023. Participation in the universal school meals program surpassed the initially anticipated increase by more than 20% and breakfast participation was an even larger increase. We made bold investments in our students last year, and the need for this bill speaks volumes to the successes we’re already seeing with implementation. We are committed to continuing meeting these basic needs of students so they can thrive in and out of the classroom.


Committee Action

A huge thank you to the media advisors and student journalists who testified in the House Education Policy on legislation I’ve been carrying for several years. The bipartisan New Voices bill allows students the freedom to express themselves and hone their critical thinking skill without the fear of censorship. It is more important than ever before for our students to learn media literacy and communication skills that they can carry with them in whatever path they take after high school.

Student journalists

Student Journalists and Media Advisors testify for the New Voices bill.


This week, I also had two other bills heard. One that would provide increased funding for our intermediate and cooperative schools who take care of some of our most vulnerable students (HF4333). This would enable cost savings for the home districts they collaborate with. It was brought to me by Intermediate District 287 which serves Hopkins, Edina, and St. Louis park along with nine other school districts in the west metro.

Superintendent Marcy Daud

Superintendent Marcy Daud, Intermediate District 287


The other bill is for Hopkins Vail Place that has served folks living with mental illness in the west metro region for 40 years. Vail Place provides access to critical needs like housing, mental health support, and job training funded by federal, county, and state dollars. Vail Place is also a clubhouse model that provides a place where those with mental illness can grow in community in a space to call their own. Members run the clubhouse which provides space to build job skills, cook meals together, and join in activities with their peers. HF4514 provides one-time money to enable demonstration projects in three different clubhouse locations. There is also one-time money to have the Department of Health use the data from the demonstration models to create a Medical Assistant reimbursement for the service provided. The cost to provide clubhouse services to one person for an entire year equals a three day stay in a critical care psychiatric bed. This is a program that provides efficient and effective intervention and prevention services.


Vail Place partners testify on a bill to expand the clubhouse model.


Federal Assistance for Small Businesses Affected by Warm Winter

Our “winter” this year has been unseasonably warm. While many of us have enjoyed foregoing winter jackets this year, the low precipitation we’ve experienced this winter has had a real economic impact on small businesses that rely on snow and winter tourism. Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available due to the ongoing federal drought declarations affecting 81 Minnesota counties. Small business owners should apply here for assistance as soon as possible.


Connected to Community

This week, I had the opportunity to meet with Superintendents from Grand Rapids, Princeton, and our very own St. Loius Park. I also met with constituents advocating on behalf of different organizations at the Capitol including: affordable housing, Hunger Solutions/Second Harvest, Physical Therapists, MN Land Title Association, and MN Bike Alliance.

Affordable Housing Day with Bring it Home

Affordable Housing Day with Bring it Home


Hunger Solutions/Second Harvest

Hunger Solutions/Second Harvest


MN Bike Alliance

MN Bike Alliance


PT Day

Physical Therapist Day


MN Land Title Association

MN Land Title Association


Friday, I started the day visiting students at the Junior Achievement North and ended the day taking a tour of the newly opened Rise Early learning Center in St. Louis Park. I was grateful to see firsthand the good work both of these organizations are doing for the learners in our communities. And of course, I forgot to take pictures when I toured Rise Early Learning because it was too much fun watching the kids play and explore in their incredible classrooms and the outside space.


Students finish in the classroom experience with a day at Junior Achievement North’s St. Paul site, with financial literacy hands-on learning experience in a town center model.


Keep in Touch

Please continue to keep in touch at or 651-296-9889 with questions or ideas. I appreciate hearing from you!

Have a great weekend!

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Cheryl Youakim
State Representative