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

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Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Friday, June 21, 2024
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Dear Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well and staying dry! While the rain was much needed, I’m hoping for sunnier days ahead. The weather didn’t dampen spirits in St. Louis Park or Hopkins last Saturday. I started out the morning marching in the Parktacular Parade in St. Louis Park. Despite the drizzly weather, the parade route still had families and residents excited to see the floats and marching bands. Then it was on to Hopkins’ 2nd annual Pride Festival with of unique vendors, live music, and support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Pride senate district


Marching Band



Pride photo

Over the next month, I would like to highlight some of the new measures DFLers passed into law under the highly productive 2023-2024 biennium. This week’s edition will start with how we’re putting Minnesota values into action by building an economy that works better for everyone including in the areas of housing, taxes, labor and workforce.



The historic $1 billion investment across the entire housing continuum we delivered in 2023 is the largest appropriation for housing in the state’s history. With this investment, we are creating homeownership opportunities for more Minnesotans, helping struggling renters, building more homes, preserving and rehabilitating affordable housing, and creating ongoing stable housing support. Of the new initiatives I’m especially glad we got the $50 million in housing infrastructure bonds across the finish line, which will allow for the construction and rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing, preserve federally assisted rental housing, create affordable senior housing, develop single-family homes, build deeply affordable rental housing, and improve manufactured home infrastructure.

This year, we established a plan to use most of the $10 million supplemental committee budget target to primarily address emergency rental assistance. This funding will make a major difference in the lives of so many Minnesotans who are cost-burdened and at risk of homelessness. We lived up to the “a little goes a long way” approach of using smaller amounts of money to better set us up for progress and success in 2025. And we took important steps to address the power imbalance between landlords and tenants that can have significant impacts on our most vulnerable Minnesotans.


Tax Savings

In 2023, the DFL delivered tax cuts to our Minnesota families and small businesses. You may recall we started at a sprint in January of last year with the passage of a critical federal tax conformity package that included $100 million in cuts for businesses and ensured that federal student loan forgiveness would be exempt from Minnesota taxation. We also passed critical provisions which will benefit Minnesotans in every corner of the state for years to come – investments that will make good on the efforts to make Minnesota the best state in the nation to raise a family and retire. 

One of the most significant of these is the Child Tax Credit, which impacted nearly 400,000 children across the state with families receiving an average credit of $2,508. We also cut the tax on Social Security for 75% of Minnesota seniors and combined the renter’s credit on income taxes simplifying the process with 310,000 filers receiving an increased credit. For Minnesota homeowners who saw huge spikes in their property tax bills, we delivered a special targeted property tax refund payment which has impacted about 164,000 filers.

This year, we also built on this historic progress by including taxpayer assistance and outreach grants to further help Minnesotans adjust to the new updates to our tax laws that took effect in 2023. 


Paid Family and Medical Leave &

Earned Sick and Safe Time


During the 2023 legislative session, DFLers passed into law a new Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) program in Minnesota, which authorizes workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a newborn child, for the worker’s own serious health condition, or the serious health condition of a family member. The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2026, establishes eligibility requirements, an application process, benefit amounts, premiums paid by employers and employees, and an opportunity for employers to opt out with their own private plan. 

The new PFML law also includes significant detail on the different types of leave, exclusions for independent contractors and seasonal employees, maximum weeks of leave in a year, lower premiums for small employers, and a formula for future premium rates based on benefits paid out. Six or seven years of working with advocates, stakeholders, employer groups, DEED, and others meant that hundreds of details on PFML had been vetted and resolved, resulting in a great program that will help all Minnesotans facing life’s unexpected challenges.


Over 900,000 Minnesota workers – a third of the state’s workforce – lack access to any paid time off when they or a family member are ill or need to see a doctor. To remedy that, last year we enacted a statewide Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) policy to attend to worker’s physical and mental health needs, including illness, injury or doctor’s appointment, to attend to the physical and mental health needs of a family member (including illness, injury or appointment), absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of the worker or a family member, or if the worker’s job site is closed because of weather or a public emergency, or if a family member’s school is closed. 

When I worked serving tables at one of our local restaurants to help make ends meet when our children were young, having paid sick leave would have been helpful. I faced the difficult decision that many hourly workers struggle with, going in to work sick or staying at home, because missed work hours mean missing out on pay.

All hardworking Minnesotans deserve the time off to care for themselves or a family member without having to forgo pay. We all do better when we’re better, and our health is cornerstone to that value we all share. I’m glad we got this done after decades of advocacy laying the groundwork for this moment.


Keep in Touch

I’ll continue with more detailed updates through July. Please continue to reach out anytime with your thoughts or questions at or 651-296-9889. Although the legislative session has concluded, the work continues year round. 

Thank you for the honor of representing our Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Edina neighbors in St. Paul.

Youakim e-signature

Cheryl Youakim
State Representative