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

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Legislative Update- March 26, 2021

Friday, March 26, 2021

Rep. Youakim

 

Dear Neighbors,

What a week! Committees are wrapping up work and we are beginning to assemble our state budget. This week, in the House Property Tax Division, we vetted and approved the Division Report, which is a compilation of carefully selected bills we considered throughout the session. I also presented a bill that makes several significant changes to special education funding for school districts, charter schools, intermediate school districts and cooperatives in order to help districts shrink their special education cross-subsidies.

Read more below for exciting news on vaccine eligibility and our continued work on COVID-19 relief and recovery.


Vaccine Eligibility Expands Starting Tuesday

Governor Walz announced today that starting Tuesday, all Minnesotans 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. While this does not mean that there are currently enough stock to vaccinate everyone immediately, it gives the providers more flexibility when they have vaccine available and appointment slots to fill.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I encourage you to check out Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, a tool to help people find out when, where, and how to get a vaccine. It can let you know when you’re eligible to be vaccinated, connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment, and alert you if there are vaccine opportunities nearby. To sign up, visit mn.gov/vaccineconnector or call 833-431-2053. Minnesotans can also contact their healthcare provider, local pharmacy or use the Vaccine Locator Map to search for vaccine providers in their area.

 

Vaccine Eligibility


 

Securing Worker’s Compensation for

First Responders

Last year, we passed a bill to ensure these Minnesotans on the frontline of this pandemic would receive workers’ compensation if they contracted COVID-19 or were exposed to it on the job. That provision is set to expire on May 1, but first responders are still in a vulnerable position- especially with new variants of the virus appearing across the west metro. Yesterday, we passed a bill that would extend that deadline. Nurses, doctors, paramedics, EMTs, firefighters, police officers, correctional officers, and child care workers are covered under this proposal. You can read my official statement of support here.

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Preventing Wage Discrimination

March 24 is Equal Pay Day, an annual reminder that American women continue to be paid less than men. For every dollar that a White man is paid, Asian women make 85¢, White women make 82¢, Black women make 61¢, Indigenous women make 58¢, and Latina women make 53¢. One of the reasons that this gap exists is that employers can ask job applicants about their pay history and use it to make compensation decisions, which perpetuates the cycle of discrimination. I’m proud to share the House passed the Preventing Discrimination Act, a bill that halts this practice and brings us one step closer to closing the pay gap.

pay


Helping Hospitality and Service Sector Workers Return to their Jobs

There are Hopkins and St. Louis Park residents employed at hotels, airports, event centers, and related businesses that were laid off last year. Since many Minnesotans are still avoiding travel and large events due to COVID-19, many of these workers haven’t been able to return to their jobs yet. That’s why we’ve championed legislation to help hospitality and service sector workers return to the jobs they had before the pandemic. The bill passed off the House Floor yesterday.

hospitality


Expanding Access to Earned Sick and Safe Time

The pandemic has demonstrated that we all benefit when workers have the ability to stay home without missing a paycheck. One of the bills we approved yesterday would ensure Minnesota families aren’t forced to choose between a paycheck and taking care of themselves or a loved one. Under this legislation, workers would earn at least one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. Workers could use this time to stay home when they’re sick or to take care of a family member. This would be funded by small contributions from the employer as well as the employee. I am proud to be a co-author of this bill!

sicknsafe


Summer Learning Package Advances

Students, parents, teachers, and families have been hit hard by the pandemic, academically and emotionally. The robust summer learning package we passed on Tuesday would help address learning loss through hands-on tutoring and programming, ensure our students have an opportunity to get caught up, and provide critical mental health support to those, including teachers, who need it. I supported this bill when it came through the Education Finance Committee that I sit on and look forward to the Senate’s support of our children’s education as well.

Summer Learning Package

Connecting with Community

Today, I had the opportunity to connect with folks advocating with Nutrition and Dietetics 'Day on the Hill.' Constituents also made their voices heard on a proposal that would add a constitutional amendment to the ballot related to access to a quality public education. 

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MN Dietitians

I'm also planning to connect with the Minnesota Youth Council this evening on a bill I'm authoring, in partnership with Hopkins Highs School students, to expand youth mental health access. You may remember I mentioned this legislation in a previous update. In current law a 16 and 17 year-old is allowed to check themselves into an inpatient facility of their own accord but cannot access the help of a mental health professional in an outpatient setting without parental permission. My bill would remove this barrier for our youths. 


REMINDERS:

2021 Legislative Survey: If you have not yet taken my legislative survey, please use the following link to submit your input: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2021mn46b\

Legislative Easter/Passover Break: The Legislature will be on recess for the Easter/Passover break Monday, March 29th through April 2, 2021. I wish you all happy and healthy Easter and Passover holidays.


Keep in Touch

Please continue to reach out anytime with questions or input at rep.cheryl.youakim@house.mn or 651-296-9889. Remote operations in the House continue, so email is the quickest way to reach me.

Thank you for the honor of serving our Hopkins and St. Louis Park neighbors at the State Capitol.

Have a nice weekend!

Be well,

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Cheryl Youakim

State Representative 

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