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

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Legislative Weekly Recap - March 16-22, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dear neighbors,

The House met in session every day last week except Friday, which was filled with committee hearings before the first deadline. This week will be much of the same as we approach the second policy deadline on March 27. Second deadline is the last day a policy bill has to pass through all the policy committees in both the House and the Senate. The legislature will then take a week long break before completing its work on the budget.

Last Tuesday, I presented a bill I am carrying at the request of the DNR in committee (HF1704). It would include local parks in the grant program for local trails that is funded by lottery proceeds for the environment. Friday, I had my second stop for my Silver Alert bill in the Government Operations & Elections Committee. I’ve also requested a hearing in the Public Safety & Crime Prevention Committee; it’s last stop before the House floor. It has already made it to the floor in the Senate.

The House Session Daily is a nonpartisan publication from House Public Information Services. It is a great source of information, and for following legislation through committee and onto the House floor. You can subscribe to the Session Daily news feed here

Governor Dayton’s Supplemental Budget

On Tuesday, Governor Dayton unveiled his supplemental budget proposal, which directs 80% of the budget surplus to support investments in Minnesota kids and families. The Governor's supplemental budget proposal would use the surplus to invest in free universal pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds, increase funding for every K-12 public school in Minnesota, and make higher education more affordable by continuing the tuition freeze at public colleges and universities. The Governor’s proposal would deliver $187 million in tax credits for child care and working families, and raise wages for working families for the first time in nearly 30 years. It would also provide additional funding for public safety improvements and affordable housing. If you’re interested in learning more, detailed materials on the supplemental budget have been posted here.

While the beginning of session dealt primarily with policy bills, much of the rest of session will deal with budget bills. Budget targets will be set by the majority in the House and the Senate; those targets will set the baseline for the funding bills that cover every area of the state budget and the policy bills that have a fiscal impact.

Committee Work

In Governmental Operations and Elections we met Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning and then reconvened in the evening as well as meeting a good portion of Friday. The committee heard 53 bills in total, with a wide range of issues covered. The highlight of the week was hearing Rep. Ryan Winkler present his campaign finance disclosure bill (HF43). It requires all organizations that spend money influencing an election to add disclaimers to literature that they distribute and to declare their expenditures. Unfortunately, the bill failed on a party-line vote, with DFL members voting for it and GOP members voting against it.

In Property Taxes & Local Government Committee we heard a variety of bills regarding local sales tax authority. After the session break, this committee will get busier as it puts together a property tax division report that will be sent to the full Tax Committee.

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

Meetings with Constituents

Throughout the week I met with constituents visiting the Capitol. There were students here with the Private Colleges Association, a dedicated pediatrician that discussed a variety of important issues and a student writing his thesis for his Masters in the Spanish language. Most of the week was spent in committees and on the floor.

I also had a chance to meet with April Crockett from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). She provided updates on the timing of construction that will be affecting the West Metro. I encourage you to sign up at MnDOT’s Hwy. 100 website to get updated information on the Hwy. 100 project as closures begin in the coming weeks.

Upcoming Community Events

Hopkins Annual Empty Bowls Event

Where: Hopkins Center for the Arts

When: Tuesday, March 24; 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Below is a listing of my upcoming “Coffee & Conversation” Meetings. These 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)