Rep. Cheryl Youakim Update: April 13, 2017

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (46B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

When we return from the Easter and Passover recess, conference committees will meet to hash out details on various omnibus finance bills heard over the last few weeks. A conference committee is composed of five House members and five Senate members. It is the House and Senate Republican leadership that make the appointments to the conference committees and a legislator has to have voted ‘yes’ on the bill to be considered. When the bills pass both bodies, they have different spending targets. By the end of April, GOP leaders in both bodies must agree on joint targets for each of the spending areas in the conference committee – one budget target for education, one for public safety, one for taxes, etc. Many of the omnibus bills include policy provisions along with the budget proposals. When the conference committees meet, they typically review policy provisions first to see what is similar and what is different. These similarities and differences become part of the negotiations as well the financial targets. Many of the policy provisions that the Republicans have included in their budget bills are controversial and the Governor has already said some of them are non-starters. (more…)

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Rep. Peggy Flanagan Update: April 7, 2017

Dear neighbors,

This week, we are debating a series of omnibus bills, each one containing a package of finance items for one particular issue area. In each one of these debates, we have an opportunity to reflect the values and needs of Minnesotans. Budgets are moral documents, and as I think you will see, many of these budget bills have failed a basic moral test.

Leaving Vulnerable Minnesotans Behind

Today we are debating the Health & Human Services budget bill. Unfortunately, this bill follows a pattern of Republican budget bills this session of leaving vulnerable Minnesotans behind in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich. (more…)

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Rep. Cheryl Youakim Update: April 3, 2017

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (46B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

The plan for this week is to take up the remaining omnibus bills before the legislative recess on April 8th through 18th. Once we get back from break, conference committees will be meeting to match up the House and Senate language in the Omnibus bills and set joint spending targets for these bills. Then, the bills will move back to both floors as conference committee reports are accepted or rejected for final passage. It could be possible to find middle ground for some bills, but for many, much more work will need to be done. After break, we will also be taking up individual bills that have made their way through the committee process and on to the House General Register. There are just over 130 bills waiting to be calendared for a House floor vote. Some of them may already be tucked into omnibus bills while others will await a vote. (more…)

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Rep. Cheryl Youakim Update: March 27, 2017

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (46B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

As we draw closer to the April 9th recess, various House omnibus bills will be making their way to the House floor. This week, many of the committees are still meeting to complete their work. Quite often, the House will begin session in the morning, recess for committee work, and then resume floor session in the evening to vote on bills. A good source for information on these bills is the nonpartisan House Public Information Services page.  If you’re interested in watching floor session on the Minnesota channel or stream it live at www.house.mn. If you miss a floor session or a committee hearing, you can find an audio or video copy of it in the “Multimedia Archive” section on the House website.

House Budget Targets Released

House Republicans announced their budget targets last week; the final piece needed for committees to craft the budget for the next two years. Any budget decisions should put Minnesotans first and prepare for uncertainty at the federal level. Unfortunately, the Republican budget makes deep cuts to health and human services, underfunds education, and already includes a tax giveaway for the owners of corporations. (more…)

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Rep. Peggy Flanagan Update: March 24, 2017

Dear neighbors,

With policy deadlines past, we have now entered the part of the session that focuses primarily on building a budget that reflects the needs and values of Minnesota families. From this point forward, we will need to negotiate with Republicans in order to invest in education, health care, and working families.

As you may have noticed, I’ve also decided to change up the format of my legislative updates. Who says emails from legislators have to be boring? (more…)

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Sen. Ron Latz Update: March 23, 2017

CAPITOL UPDATE MARCH 24, 2017

This past week, a Star Tribune article titled “Student loan defaults soar as millions miss payments” highlighted that over 14% of young people have fallen behind on student loan payments this past year. Two bills, SF 156 and SF 165, being considered in the Senate right now, would go a long way in mitigating a future student debt crisis.

One bill I authored, the Minnesota College Affordability Act (SF 156), would enable all of Minnesota high school graduates to attend 2- and 4-year public colleges, universities, and technical schools by providing tuition-free education for families earning under $125,000. This bold plan ignites a much needed discussion about our society’s commitment to higher education. Our state will fall behind if we do not seek to better educate and equip our learners for 21st century careers. The College Affordability Act grants apply after all existing state and federal grants and requires students to maintain a 2.5 GPA in college. (more…)

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Rep. Cheryl Youakim Update: March 20, 2017

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (46B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Last week was second deadline week, which is when all policy bills must have passed through all their required committees in both the House and the Senate by Friday, March 17 at 5:00 p.m. Technically, a bill is “dead” for the session if it has not met those requirements.  A senator or representative can offer their bill as an amendment to an omnibus bill or on the floor. Or, they can make their case to the Rules Committee to why their bill should still be heard after deadlines. Many times, those techniques only work if you are in the majority. (more…)

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Rep. Cheryl Youakim Update: March 13, 2017

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (46B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Last week we had four days of floor session. On Monday, we took up the bill to restructure the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. You can read about that below. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we met briefly to move bills from one committee to the next. Last Friday was the first policy committee deadline. All bills dealing with policy had to be through all of their required committees in either the House or the Senate. This coming Friday, March 17, is the second policy deadline when the bills have to do the same in the opposite body.

As you are reading this, we are meeting on the House floor to discuss and vote on the “re-insurance” bill. Reinsurance is insurance purchased by an insurance company from another source (in this case the State of Minnesota) to mitigate risk from high claim consumers. Under this bill, the state would reimburse insurance companies for some of their high cost claims. (more…)

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Rep. Peggy Flanagan Update: March 8, 2017

Rep. Peggy Flanagan (46A) – Legislative Update

Dear neighbor,

This week our budget work begins in earnest, as we have just received the updated budget forecast. Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Dayton, we are no longer running a budget deficit. In fact, we now have a projected $1.65 billion surplus. What we do with that money should reflect the needs and values of Minnesotans.

Here are a few other things to know this week:

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS FOR WOMEN

In Health and Human Services Reform committee, we heard two bills that would undermine women’s reproductive rights in Minnesota. (more…)

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Rep. Cheryl Youakim Update: March 6, 2017

Rep. Cheryl Youakim (46B) – Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

Last week we had floor sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday and Wednesday were quick sessions with a non-controversial bill and motions to move bills from one committee to the next. Thursday evening we heard HF600, known as the preemption bill.

We debated the preemption bill from 3:30 -11:00 p.m. with a short recess so that the House Health & Human Services Committee could take up a controversial bill on licensing clinics that provide abortion services. Earlier in the day, the committee chair publicly announced that they would finish their work after session. But, GOP leadership decided not to announce the new time until 15 minutes before the committee was to reconvene. This is not a transparent way to do legislative business. (more…)

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