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

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Legislative Weekly Recap - March 9-14, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dear neighbors,

Last week we had floor session every day except Friday, and the next two weeks should be similar as we wrap up first and second policy deadlines.

On Wednesday, I was fortunate to get a hearing on my Silver Alert bill (HF 805) in the Aging & Long-Term Care Committee. The bill passed unanimously, and now goes to the Government Operations and Elections Committee. I hope to get a hearing in that committee this week, and then it will have one more stop in the Public Safety & Crime Prevention Committee before a vote on the House floor. A special thanks to Sen. Kathy Sheran who authored the companion bill in the Senate.

Heidi Haley-Franklin, vice president of clinical services for the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, testified in support of my bill to establish a Silver Alert system. Photo by Andrew VonBank

Session Daily

If you’re looking for more information on daily events at the legislature, Session Daily is a valuable nonpartisan publication from House Public Information Services. It is a great source of information for following legislation through the committee process and onto the House floor. You can subscribe to the Session Daily newsfeed by clicking here.

Resources for Workers Facing Layoffs

Last week Target Corp. announced 1,500 layoffs at their Minneapolis headquarters. The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has resources available for workers facing a layoff.  You can click here or call DEED’s Dislocated Worker Program Information Line at 651-259-7537.  If you are facing a layoff and need help connecting to these resources, please feel free to contact my office for assistance.

Committee Work

In Governmental Operations and Elections we met Tuesday in a joint hearing with Civil Law & Data Practices to hear a presentation from the Legislative Auditor about MNsure. We also met on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss bills regarding spinal cord and traumatic brain injury research, agricultural research, Alzheimer and dementia research, long-term care savings plans, transitway development, local referenda elections, political party petitions and moving Minnesota primary elections to June.

In Property Taxes & Local Government Committee we heard bills that would authorize special tax authority in several communities throughout the state, another to modify audit requirements for towns and a bill that clarified inter-fund loans for tax increment financing districts.

The Rules & Administration Committee that I serve on continues to meet on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings to set what bills will be heard during floor sessions.

Meetings with Constituents

Throughout the week I met with constituents visiting the Capitol with the Builders Association, Dental Students, Nurses Association, Safe Passage (a child protection advocacy group) and a large group of wonderful people from Vail Place in Hopkins. I also had a chance to meet with a group of parents from the Hopkins Schools Legislative Action Coalition. It is a group I used to be very active in as my children were going through the Hopkins public schools. We spent many hours together at the Capitol advocating for public school funding.

On Friday, I had a chance to meet with a group of folks from Jewish Community Action to discuss a bill that would allow students to pre-register to vote at age 16 (HF391). While the voting age would still remain 18, it would allow teens to pre-register at age 17. I supported the bill when it was in Government Operations & Elections but was disappointed that the House author amended the bill to allow only 17 year-olds to pre-register. The Senate version still allows 16 year-olds to pre-register to vote. If the bill passes the House and Senate, it will have to go to conference committee to hash out the difference.

Upcoming Community Events

Below is a listing of the upcoming “Coffee & Conversation”.  They are an open house format and community members are welcome to come, grab a cup of coffee, and have a quick conversation about issues concerning them.

Where: Hopkins Depot Coffeehouse

When: March 28 (11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) & April 25 (10:00-11:30 a.m.)

Where: St. Louis Park Byerly's, Community Room

When: April 14 (7:30-9:00 p.m.)

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, issues or concerns.

Have a Great Week!

Cheryl Youakim

State Representative (46B)