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

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Legislative Update- May 24, 2024

Friday, May 24, 2024
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Dear Neighbors, 

On Monday, May 20, the 93rd Minnesota Legislature concluded a two-year session that made meaningful progress with a host of accomplishments that will benefit our state and our communities of Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Edina for generations to come. The Senate District 46 team will be doing a deep dive with a Session Wrap-Up Town Hall Meeting on June 12th at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Louis Park City Council Chambers. I hope you’ll be able to join us! 

June 12 town hall info

Minnesota has long been considered the “education state,” but decades of chronic underfunding have made it hard for our schools to meet our students’ growing needs. I’m proud to have worked as the House Education Finance Committee Chair to strengthen opportunities for our students with historic investments in public schools, universal school meals, funding targeted at improving literacy through the READ Act, and resources for school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses. In last year’s K-12 Education bill, we created more pathways to career training in our high schools and in the Higher Education bill, we increased access to college with the North Star Promise that guarantees free tuition for students from families earning less than $80,000 annually. 

Legislators at House Education Conference Committee

In order to ensure an economy that works for everyone, Democrats delivered numerous wins for workers, families, and seniors to help them achieve economic security. The Child Tax Credit is projected to cut childhood poverty by one-third. To help seniors keep more money in their pockets, we eliminated taxes on Social Security income for 75% of Minnesota seniors. In response to rising costs, we delivered property tax cuts and improved our renters credit program.

Record investments in housing will help everyone have a place to call home. We delivered new resources for early care and learning, food security, and child welfare. We reduced health care costs, including a cap on co-pays for prescription drugs to treat diabetes, asthma, and allergies at $25 for one month’s supply. Democrats also enacted many protections from big pharma, big tech, big insurance companies, and predatory lenders. Increases in Local Government Aid and County Program Aid will help keep property taxes down while ensuring Minnesotans can count on vital public services like roads, water, parks, and public safety.

Speaking with Rep. Norris on House Floor

Everyone deserves to live in communities that are safe, welcoming, and inclusive. For decades, Minnesotans have been advocating for common-sense gun violence prevention measures, and House DFLers got the job done by enacting criminal background checks, red flag laws, increasing penalties for straw purchasers, and banning devices that turn semi-automatic guns into fully automatic weapons of war. We legalized adult-use cannabis and made medical marijuana more accessible. Additionally, Democrats supported the work of law enforcement through local public safety aid, delivered resources for crime victims, and supported the needs of the judicial branch so everyone has access to justice.

After the Dobbs court decision, Democrats quickly went to work establishing landmark reproductive freedoms. As other states become more hostile to LGBTQ+ people, we banned “conversion therapy” and made Minnesota an even more welcoming state. To boost community vitality, last session we enacted a record public infrastructure bill and made long-term investments in roads, bridges, and transit. We also strengthened opportunities for our undocumented neighbors through Drivers Licenses for All and an expansion of MinnesotaCare eligibility. With the right to vote under attack, DFLers advanced solutions including the Democracy for the People Act, Restore the Vote legislation, pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and the Minnesota Voting Rights Act.

Speaking with Rep. Kotyza-Witthuhn on the House Floor

In Minnesota, we value hard work, and workers expect fair compensation with family-sustaining benefits. After years of effort in the face of powerful special interests, Democrats successfully delivered Paid Family & Medical Leave and Earned Sick & Safe Time. We enacted overdue safety protections at workplaces including warehouses, nursing homes, oil refineries, and meatpacking plants. We also enhanced our efforts to combat wage theft which too often exploits vulnerable workers.

Minnesotans value our environment and treasured natural resources and are concerned about the threat of climate change. We led the way in enacting a 100% carbon-free energy goal, worked to enhance our electric grid, and invested in rebate programs including for electric vehicles and home energy. After listening to the heartbreaking stories of impacted Minnesotans we took steps to ban cancer-causing PFAS forever chemicals, and funded lead pipe replacement. Finally, to leave Minnesota a better place for the next generation we delivered investments in tree planting, improved air quality, clean drinking water, reducing packaging waste, and environmental justice.

Rep. Youakim speaking on House Floor

During the last week of session, we were working many late evenings. I would like to give a shout-out to our incredible House staff.  From our DFL researchers and committee staff to our non-partisan committee staff and front desk staff, there were many nights that they got even less sleep than we did. They are the true unsung heroes of the Minnesota House.

While we had many successes during the biennium, there were items for our communities that did not make it across the finish line as the tax bill was scaled down and the slimmed down bonding bill did not make it across the finish line. After fourteen hours of debate over three days, the House passed the ERA bill, but the Senate ran out of time to hear the concurrence. I was also disappointed that we did not get a sports betting bill across the finish line. I did vote for it in both the House Tax Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee and would have supported it if we took a vote on the House floor. One bright spot during the final day of session: we were able to pass a bill that will keep Uber and Lyft here while supporting the drivers who make the companies successful.

I fully recognize that there is more to do to build a state that truly works for everyone. Despite the progress we all made together, we know that the challenges Minnesotans are facing can’t be solved in a single biennium. We’re committed to continuing our collaboration with Minnesotans from across our state to ensure everyone has an opportunity to build the better life that they want and deserve.


Our Work Continues

After session, our work continues with follow up emails to constituents, visiting with folks in our communities, and continuing to meet with organizations to work on policy and funding bills for next year. On Monday, we gathered once again on the House floor to say goodbye to colleagues that are retiring. You can see the retirement speeches here. Wednesday, I joined colleagues at a breakfast hosted by the Minneapolis Foundation focused on reimaging education literacy. And on Friday afternoon I visited Movefwd, an organization in Hopkins that helps stabilize young people who are struggling in our communities. I would be happy to meet with your organization or tour your business over the interim. Just reach out at my email below and copy on your request.

Speaking at panel

Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime at or 651-296-9889 with questions, input, or ideas. Email will be the quickest and best way to get in touch, especially as we prepare to move offices to the Centennial Building.

Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Minnesota House! 

Have a great holiday weekend,

Rep. Youakim signature

Cheryl Youakim
State Representative