Originally published Dec. 29, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- In just a few days, new laws passed during the 2021 legislative session will take effect. So what's going to change and how will it impact you?
While some changes may go unnoticed by the majority of Minnesotans, others may directly impact you and your family.
Here are a few new laws that the state legislature wants to make sure are on your radar:
Any employer with 15 employees or more is required to offer "reasonable accommodations" to their workers for any health conditions relating to pregnancy or childbirth. Exceptions are made if the employer demonstrates that the accommodation would result in "undue hardship" on the business. Examples provided by the legislature include temporary transfers to positions that are less strenuous or hazardous or, for example, more frequent bathroom breaks.
Opioid screening limits are repealed in the laws going into effect next month. The legislature says medical assistance "must cover screenings and urinalysis tests for opioids without lifetime or annual limits."
Starting in January, any member of the 11 federally-recognized tribes in Minnesota is eligible for a free permit to state parks. The Department of Natural Resources is also to issue free daily park permits to qualifying individuals who don't own a car.
The state's health and human services policy and finance law goes into effect Saturday, which includes a number of provisions for medical assistance coverage and substance use treatment. This includes a 5% increase on rates for substance use disorder treatment programs by culturally-specific organizations. The new law allows for a 90-day supply for some prescriptions dispensed under medical assistance. The dispensing fee increases from $10.48 to $10.77. Also, homeless youths can get a state ID card without paying fees starting in January.
Starting in January, Minnesota driver's licenses "cannot be suspended following a conviction for driving after suspension, driving after revocation or based solely on a person's failure to pay a traffic ticket, parking fine or surcharge following a conviction for a vehicle operation or parking citation." Nor can the DPS suspend driver's licenses based on failure to appear in court on petty misdemeanor citations. Also, three new special license plates will be available -- the Minnesota 100 Club, agriculture and honorary consul.
The new laws for 2022 revise the system for property forfeiture in connection with criminal cases. Forfeiture notices need to contain a warning to the person (not the driver) who "may have an ownership interest in a vehicle that has been seized how to assert an innocent owner claim." The laws now identify specific ways that law enforcement or other prosecuting authorities can use forfeiture-obtained funds. The legislature noted that the auditor's office will oversee the efficacy of forfeiture or ignition interlock programs in DWI cases, and report their findings back by January 2025.
A number of campaign finance changes go into effect in January, including expanding the definition of "expressly advocating" to include certain types of political communications, "even if they do not use words or phrases of express advocacy."
Click here to read more on the new 2022 laws.
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