New laws take effect August 1Electric utility companies have the right to build, own and maintain new electric transmission lines that have been approved for construction under a regional planning process. It also lays out the procedure for utilities to accept or reject their right to build the new power lines.
The following is a list of selected new laws passed during the 2012 legislative season that take effect August 1.
Summaries of all laws passed by the 2012 Legislature are available from nonpartisan House Public Information Services at www.house.mn/
BUSINESS AND COMMERCE
Going after gas drive-offs
The law will allow a trade association acting on behalf of member organizations and retailers to serve notice and collect payments within current civil liability statues.
Sump pump installation changes
Minnesota’s plumbing code will broaden to allow licensed waterproofing contractors to install a sump pump in an existing single-family dwelling.
Status quo for who gets to build power lines first
Electric utility companies have the right to build, own and maintain new electric transmission lines that have been approved for construction under a regional planning process. It also lays out the procedure for utilities to accept or reject their right to build the new power lines.
Northern Minnesota state land authorizes
A new law provides for expedited land exchanges in northern Minnesota that supporters hope will benefit the state’s K-12 schools. The law will allow these land parcels to be exchanged for others that will generate revenue.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Electronic prescriptions permitted under more circumstances
Doctors will be allowed to issue prescriptions electronically in instances where current law requires prescribing through a written or oral method.
Treatment options expanded
Parents of children who are deaf, deaf and blind or hard-of-hearing and who need mental health treatment will have more options for where they can seek treatment for their children.
Late fees on subsidized renters may be adjusted
Landlords operating a lease under a federally subsidized tenancy program will be allowed to charge late fees, but on a schedule consistent with that of federal guidelines.
Honor guard stipends increased
Charitable gambling organizations will be authorized to pay a per diem stipend of up to $50 per person for military honor guard, color guard or “marching unit” performances. The stipend was previously capped at $35 per person.
Awards provided for the non-military who serve with distinction
A new law will allow the governor to issue suitable awards to non-military individuals for distinguished service or support to military forces of the state.
Selling forfeited firearms to dealers
Law enforcement agencies will be permitted to sell forfeited firearms to federally licensed firearms dealers. Seventy percent of the proceeds will go to the law enforcement agency, 20 percent to the prosecuting agency and 10 percent to the state’s general fund.
Establishing an inmate gardening program
The Corrections Department is to establish an inmate gardening program at each correctional facility where space and security allows. The produce is to be used for feeding offenders. Excess produce will be donated to food shelves or charities.
Civilian Police Review Authority changes
A new law will allow Minneapolis to give its law enforcement personnel the same rights and privileges as other law enforcement agencies across the state.
Harsher vulnerable adult penalties
A new law creates a felony crime for intentional deprivation of a vulnerable adult, such as with food, clothing, shelter or health care, when the caregiver “is reasonably able to make the necessary provisions.”
Additionally, the law creates a new two-year felony offense for child mistreatment that results in “demonstrable bodily harm.”
Seeking to demonstrate firearm silencers
Federally licensed firearms dealers, manufacturers or importers will be permitted to possess silencers for the purpose of selling them or firearms tested with silencers for authorized activities. A silencer partially suppresses, but does not actually fully eliminate, the sound of a gunshot.
Crime of genital mutilation to have enhanced penalty
Within the state’s domestic violence statutes is a list of offenses that qualify a person for an enhanced offense, potentially leading to a harsher sentence. The crime of female genital mutilation has been added to the list.
Fighting synthetic drug sale, use
The law will enhance the penalty for selling synthetic drugs to a felony, expand the list of illicit synthetic substances and grant the Board of Pharmacy expedited rulemaking authority to handle new chemical formulas used by drug producers.
School bus crossing arm requirement
A new law requires all school buses used in the state that are manufactured after January 1, 2013, to be equipped with a crossing control arm on the front right bumper that automatically expands out whenever the bus is stopped and the flashing lights are in use.
Restored pioneer vehicles titling
The intent of a new law is to create a titling process that allows for pre-1919 manufactured vehicles to have a pioneer plate, have a title that does not say the vehicle is reconstructed and use vehicle identification numbers that are already stamped on the engine or frame.