7 new Minnesota laws take effect Jan. 1, 2022

The new laws affect commerce, elections, environment and natural resources, family, health and human services, public safety and transportation.

Seven new Minnesota laws will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, after their passage in the 2021 regular and special Legislative sessions.

The new laws affect commerce, elections, environment and natural resources, family, health and human services, public safety and transportation.

Commerce

A new law repeals opioid screening limits for those on Medical Assistance. Beginning the first of the year, Medical Assistance must cover screenings and urinalysis tests for opioids without lifetime or annual limits.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) and Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls).

Elections

Changes to election laws were made to Article 4 of the omnibus state government finance and omnibus elections law. Two of the changes involved the transfer of campaign finance reporting requirements for metro area districts, and the third change involved expanding the definition of “expressly advocating” to apply to some political communications, “even if they do not use words or phrases of express advocacy” according to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) sponsored the law.

Environment and Natural Resources

Starting Jan. 1, 2022, any member of the 11 federally-recognized Native American tribes of Minnesota can obtain an annual State Park Permit for free. As normal, the permit is only valid when displayed in a vehicle owned and occupied by the permit-holder.

The Department of Natural Resources can also issue a free daily permit to qualifying individuals who do not own or operate a vehicle.

Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) sponsored the law.

Family

Employers of over 15 people will be required to provide “reasonable accommodations” for employees with health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth upon their request and with the advice of a licensed health care provider or certified doula. The employer could forego the requirement if they demonstrate the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of their business.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include: “temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, seating, frequent restroom breaks and limits to heavy lifting,” according to the House.

Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake) sponsored the law.

Health and Human Services

Changes to Medical Assistance coverage will take effect Jan. 1, 2022. Under a new law, certain medications can be distributed in a 90-day supply under Medical Assistance; Medical Assistance will cover enhanced asthma care services for children in homes with poorly-controlled asthma care; the dispensing fee will increase to $10.77; a 5 percent rate increase for substance use disorder treatment services provided by culturally specific or culturally responsive programs or disability responsive programs; a homeless youth can obtain a state identification card for free; procedures and documentation requirements will be in place for a homeless youth who wishes to obtain a birth certificate; and the formula for allocating money to counties for their basic sliding fee programs will be modified.

The law was sponsored by Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) and Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake).

Public Safety

Revisions to Minnesota’s forfeiture system will begin the first of the year. Under the new law, a vehicle is not subject to forfeiture if the driver fails to appear for a scheduled court appearance and fails to voluntarily surrender within 48 hours of that required appearance. A forfeiture notice must also warn a person — not the driver — who has vested interest in the vehicle; they can submit an innocent owner claim. A forfeiture proceeding in the case of a DWI is stopped if the driver participates in the ignition interlock program. The new law also identifies specific ways law enforcement agencies can use forfeiture money.

In addition, “personal property and real property, other than homestead property exempt from seizure, is subject to forfeiture if it is an instrument or represents the proceeds of a controlled substance offense; money totaling $1,500 and any precious metals or stones are subject to forfeiture if there is probable cause to believe they represent the proceeds of a controlled substance offense,” the House states.

The new law also states a vehicle is subject to forfeiture if used in transportation or exchange of controlled substances intended for distribution or sale and the controlled substances had a value of at least $100.

The Legislative Auditor’s Office will also conduct an audit on the efficacy of forfeiture and ignition interlocking systems in DWI cases and report back to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2025.

Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) sponsored the law.

Transportation

Starting Jan. 1, 2022, a person can not have their driver’s license suspended following a conviction of driving under suspension, driving after revocation, or failure to pay a traffic ticket, parking fine or parking citation.

The law is sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson).



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