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

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Legislative Weekly Recap - February 16-23, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015
Dear neighbors,
This is a brief summary of events at the Capitol last week:
Monday, I attended my first meeting of the bipartisan House Small Business Caucus. The goal of the caucus is to find solutions to assist small business to grow and prosper through tax and regulatory reform. As a former city council member, I understand how important a strong and healthy small business community is for a our local economy. The group meets once a month during session.
Floor session last Thursday included amendments and votes on the House deficiency bill (SF174). Traditionally the deficiency bill is a non-controversial bill that covers added expenses a State agency may face before their budget is set at the beginning of a new fiscal biennium (This year, that starts July 1). This year’s bill included additional funding for the Minnesota Security Hospital, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Zoo.
What was disappointing, is that we have been waiting for this bill to make it’s way to the floor since the beginning of session. Instead of hearing it promptly, the bill was used as a vehicle to address the pay raises that Governor Dayton gave to his Commissioners. While I voted for the final deficiency bill, I voted against both of the amendments regarding Commissioner pay. We should have addressed both issues separately, instead of playing politics with the deficiency funding bill.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I attended a conference for women legislative leaders in Minneapolis to hone our communication skills. It was a great chance to network with amazing women leaders from around the country.
On a community service note, St. Louis Park is looking to fill openings on its Charter Commission as well as find student youth residents for a variety of other commissions. You can see the openings with their descriptions here and you can find the applications on the City of St. Louis Park website here.
Committee Work
Both Governmental Operations & Elections Committee and Property Taxes & Local Government Division are beginning to hear individual bills. With the first policy deadline quickly approaching (March 20), committees agendas will include many more bills.
Once again, last Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Met Council Accountability and Transparency met in place of the regularly scheduled Governmental Operations & Elections Committee.
Working Parents Act
This week, DFL legislators unveiled the Working Parents Act, a legislative package aimed at providing greater opportunity and economic security to millions of Minnesotans. The link above includes a description of the five legislative proposals: Earned Sick and Safe Time, Paid Family Leave, Wage Theft Prevention, Fair and Predictable Scheduling, and Tip Fairness for Servers.
The package responds to the real challenges facing working parents and all Minnesotans in an economy that is tilted against them. Minnesota’s economy is growing, but many Minnesotans are still struggling to get ahead. The number of dual-income families and single working parents has grown significantly in our state, yet workplace policies haven’t kept up, often putting working parents in the position of caring for a loved one or forgoing a paycheck.
I’m proud to say I’ve co-authored the earned sick and safe leave and paid family leave portions of the bill. I’m hopeful that we can make progress on the Working Parents Act this year.
Meetings with Constituents
Throughout the week I met with constituents, including those with the Beverage Association, Builders Association and the Physical Therapy Association. I got a chance to visit the Director of Nutrition from Hopkins Schools to hear about their amazing program. I also had the pleasure to meet Kate Bottiger who runs “Reach for Resources”, a great non-profit that provides support to people with disabilities living in our community to maximize their independence. I was also excited to meet Nasteha Ahmed, a constituent, who is interning in the office of Rep. Ann Lenczewski.
Upcoming Community Events
I will be hosting several coffee and conversations events in the next few months. This is an open house format and intended to be less formal than a Town Hall Meeting. Community members are welcome to come, grab a cup of coffee, and have a quick conversation about issues concerning them. Note: The time of the March 28th meeting has changed since last week’s update.
Where: Hopkins Depot Coffeehouse
When: Feb. 28 & April 25 (10:00-11:30 a.m.)
March 28 (11:00am-12:30pm)
Where: St. Louis Park Byerly's, Community Room
When: March 3 & April 14 (7:30-9:00 p.m.)
I hope to see you on Saturday at the Depot in Hopkins! Have a Great Week!
Cheryl Youakim
State Representative (46B)