Eleven new Minnesota laws related to agriculture, business, civil law, housing, public safety and state government will go into effect Sunday, August 1, 2021. The laws were passed during the 2021 regular and special legislative sessions.
Law makes policy changes to Board of Animal Health, food regulations and licensing
Minnesota Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) — who represents Wilkin County — sponsored a law that increases The Board of Animal Health members from five to six.
“At least one of the producers must be a member of a federally recognized tribe located in Minnesota,” according to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
The law also quadruples the amount Minnesotans who make and sell shelf-stable foods and beverages can make in a calendar year without having to obtain a license. Under the law, Minnesotans who sell homemade baked or dehydrated pet treats are exempt from obtaining a license, too.
Small meat processors who butcher game and fowl will not be required to have a food handler’s license or permit if their annual sales are less than $20,000, or they process fewer than 200 deer annually.
Reverse mortgage loan servicer notification requirements established
Under the new law, reverse mortgage loan borrowers can identify a third party to receive communications regarding loan defaults. Lenders and servicers must send the third party copies of unanswered communications regarding delinquencies, defaults and unfulfilled obligations that may result in foreclosure under the loan agreement to that designee. The law is intended to protect elderly individuals experiencing confusion or memory loss from foreclosure.
Insurers prohibited from discriminating against people with prescription naloxone
Insurers cannot make a determination on whether to issue, renew, cancel or modify life insurance policy solely based on an individual’s history of prescription for naloxone, used to treat drug overdose.
Modifications to bad check charges, procedures for opening checking accounts
Under the new law, a financial intermediary can charge a person other than the issuer $10 (instead of the previous $4) for a dishonored check.
Minnesota law enforcement can enforce Canadian orders for protection
Previous law only allowed Minnesota law enforcement to enforce protection orders from other states or the federal and tribal governments. Under the new law, they can also enforce Canadian protection orders while the person under protection is in the state.
Housing policy changes
Under the new law:
- Federally-recognized tribes in Minnesota will be eligible for housing grants in the event of natural disaster that affects their area.
- Window fall prevention devices in one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses will no longer be required if the windows meet certain requirements.
- Clarify that it is discriminatory to deny a disabled person the use of a service animal even if identification of that animal is not present and prohibits landlords from charging additional rent fees for service or support animals.
- Allow a landlord to request documentation to verify disability when a tenant makes a reasonable accommodation request for a service or support animal except in cases where a disability is evident.
- The maximum rehabilitation loan amount will be increased to $37,500.
- Increase the definition of “persons and families of low and moderate income” to 115 percent of the greater of state median income, or area or county median income.
- Create a process to affix a manufactured home to real property when the park it’s located in is owned by a nonprofit, and repeal the current process, and create new language, for making a manufactured home an improvement to real property.
“Healthy Start Act” offers conditional release to inmates who give birth
Inmates who give birth within eight months of being committed will be conditionally released for up to one year postpartum.
“The department must develop policy and criteria for such conditional releases, which may
include community-based programming to provide prenatal or postnatal care, parenting skills classes, working at paid employment, seeking employment, educational programming, or chemical dependency or mental health treatment services,” according to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Reports will be due to the legislature by April 1 each year.
Hospice workers will be notified if caring for registered predatory offenders
Just as in-home health care providers are notified, hospice workers will receive notice if a patient under their care is a registered predatory offender.
Technical change to identity theft law
Under the new law, penalties for identity theft will be separated from child pornography crimes by placing them in two different paragraphs.
Correctional facility safety, POST Board requirements
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension must investigate incidents of sexual misconduct within the Minnesota National Guard. The new law implements stronger standards and policy reform for improving the safety of inmates and staff in state and local correctional facilities.
The Department of Corrections may revoke a state correctional facility license in the event of inmate safety violations. Police chiefs will be required to report all disciplinary actions taken against police officers to the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Board to track patterns of behavior indicative of an officer in crisis.
The POST Board will create a list of approved trainers and training programs for police officers for situations that involve persons with alzheimer's or a mental illness.
State government, MN.IT, elections and campaign finance changes in new law
The Office of MN.IT Services will now be titled the Department of Information Technology Services and will be listed among the state government cabinet level departments.
Updates to the Office of the Legislative Auditor include changes to “the language and terminology regarding the office’s authority to conduct financial audits of executive branch and judicial branch agencies and offices; the authority to request inspection of an audit subject’s records and to require cooperation with the auditor’s requests; and it eliminates specific mandates related to audits of the Department of Human Services,” according to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Some changes to election law include: establishing thresholds for determining acceptable performance by a voting system, providing a deadline for contesting a special primary election for a state legislative office and a request for a publicly funded recount may not be filed before a canvass of the election results is complete.
Some changes to campaign finance law include: “references to local candidates are added in law governing political fund organizational requirements and adding the chancellor and members of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State system to the public official definition.”