Several Minnesota Laws Takes Effect July 1

Article excerpt

Several new laws take effect July 1, following the legislative session best known for the publicly-subsidized Vikings stadium and putting conservative constitutional amendments.

The new laws, according to state House Public Information Services, are:

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE

Travel insurance

To adapt to the changing modes of travel and traveler expectations, changes need to be made to state statute regarding travel insurance.

A new law "modernizes the definition of travel insurance and regulates how travel agents disseminate travel insurance information," according to Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), who sponsors the law with Sen. David Brown (R-Becker).

Of note, the new law clarifies that travel insurance does not include major medical plans, which provide comprehensive medical protection for travelers with trips lasting six months or longer, including those working overseas as an expatriate or military personnel being deployed.

EDUCATION

Buying lunchroom equipment to be easier

Schools will no longer need Department of Education approval to purchase lunchroom equipment with surplus funds from their food service fund.

School administrators noted that making updates to lunchrooms was too cumbersome under the previous law. Rep. Mike LeMieur (R-Little Falls) and en. Paul Gazelka (R-Brainerd) sponsor the law.

ENVIRONMENT

Accelerating the fight against aquatic invasive species

Helping business owners, fighting the spread of invasive species and improving water management are among the major themes of this year's omnibus environment and natural resources law.

Sponsored by Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), the law establishes an advisory inspection process to help businesses proactively comply with regulations. Rather than find out the hard way that they're in violation of state laws or rules and face financial penalties, the idea is that businesses can contact state agencies and request an advisory inspection.

If an inspector identifies violations, the business can avoid any penalties as long as they're corrected within 60 days. Several agencies are exempted from the provisions, including the Department of Revenue. The law also states that the exemption from penalties does not apply to conduct involving fraud and various other circumstances.

The law increases civil penalties for transporting certain aquatic invasive species and doubles the fines for repeat offenders. Conservation officers will also be granted authority to order watercraft and other equipment to be removed from waters when necessary, and the Department of Natural Resources can require mandatory inspections at water access sites. …