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10 New Laws That Go Into Effect Today July 1, 2015
Several new laws that were enacted in the past legislative session go into effect as of July 1, 2015. Here are the highlights:
- Increased services to crime victims
- Added $1.35 million for crime victims services including $300,000 to provide "culturally specific" emergency shelter programs in St. Paul for domestic abuse victims.
- Tuition relief at public colleges and universities
- This law provides a $101 million increase in funding for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to help freeze tuition at the two-year colleges. The University of Minnesota received $22 million in tuition assistance, but will still raise tuition next year by 1.5 percent for resident undergraduates and 7 percent for students from outside the state.
- Bingo games expanded for seniors
- The new law streamlines statutes concerning gambling in MN, by updating the definition of gambling to include software used by electronic bar bingo and electronic pull tabs. It also includes a provision allowing nursing homes, senior homes and senior organizations to hold bingo tournaments more than twice a week.
- Rideshare drivers will need more insurance
- A new law requires more liability insurance for Uber and Lyft drivers when they're logged into the applications or transporting a passenger. It includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
- Read all about foreclosures in your local newspaper
- This law requiring notice of a foreclosure to be published in a newspaper of record was ambiguous regarding the location of the newspaper. The revised law requires that notice be published in the county where the foreclosure sale will be held. If that county doesn't have a newspaper of record, the notice may be posted in an adjacent county.
- Political Contribution Refund program ended
- This program refunded contributions made to political candidates of up to $50 per person per year ($100 per couple). It is now set to expire for two years on July 1. Contributions must be made before the June 30 deadline to qualify for the refund. The application for the refunds are due by April 18, 2016. (See our Contribute webpage).
- More forensic scientists and fingerprint examiners
- The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is receiving an additional $11.4 million to cover the hiring of six computer forensic examiners, a forensic scientist, five fingerprint examiners and more special agents to investigate child pornography and human trafficking.
- Public defenders bulked up
- The new law includes additional $6.48 million for the State of Minnesota Board of Public Defense due to concerns that public defenders have been hamstrung by high caseloads and increasingly complex court cases. The funds could cover the hiring of about 36 new public defenders. Civil legal services, which represent low-income clients in civil matters like eviction or consumer debt, will also see an additional $879,000 to help victims of domestic violence and prevent improper evictions and foreclosures.
- Easing child care licensing for some nonprofits
- Some nonprofit organizations that serve school-age children will be exempt from licensing as long as their programs include structured activities and operate before and after school or during seasonal breaks. The nonprofits must also inform parents and guardians that the programs are not licensed.
- Countering terrorist recruitment in the state
- This law includes a $250,000 allocation to find a strategy to combat terrorist recruitment in Minnesota by groups like ISIS and al-Shabab.
various sources, also MPR
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