New Minnesota laws that were passed during the 2020 regular and special legislative sessions will go into effect Saturday, Aug. 1. This includes some of the recently passed police reform and accountability package, a marriage by minors prohibition, changing the age to purchase tobacco, and other policy changes in agriculture, health, civil law and public safety.

Agriculture

The legislative tweak to the ag policy affects, in part, perishable farm product purchases, state loan programs, farm safety, grain buyers, hemp processing and agriculture education. 

Sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin) and Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne), the law extends the default payment deadline that a wholesaler has to pay the seller after receipt of perishable products from 10 to 30 days if no date is specified in a contract. 

A farmer working group has been created to advise the agriculture commissioner and Legislature “regarding the development and implementation of programs and initiatives that support emerging farmers in this state.” 

The group must include, to the extent possible, young people, urban farmers, women, veterans, people with disabilities, American Indian or Alaskan Natives and people of color. 

Among other provisions, the law also modifies membership of the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council, requires an individual to obtain a hemp license from the Department of Agriculture before growing hemp for research purposes and processing industrial hemp for commercial purposes, and it modifies a 2019 law to specify that a $5 million appropriation for innovative soybean processing and research is to be used at the Ag Innovation Campus in Crookston.

Civil Law

A new law will prohibit marriage by minors by removing statutory language that had allowed 16 and 17-year-old children to receive a marriage license with “the consent of the person’s legal parents, guardian, or the court.” The law was sponsored by Rep. Kaohly Her (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Sandra Pappas (DFL-St. Paul).

Additionally, the law prohibits Minnesota from recognizing a marriage involving a minor in another state, if one of the parties to the marriage was a Minnesota resident at the time of marriage. Minnesota will recognize marriages involving two minors if both members of the marriage were not Minnesotans at the time of marriage. 

Employment

Sponsored by Rep. Anne Claflin (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake), a new law will modify Minnesota’s pay-for-performance job training standards, which provide $11,000 grants to programs to reward them for student placement and job retention.

Modifications will reduce the amount programs need to spend on each student, provide more training and internship opportunities for students, and raises the income limit for participants to 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline from 100 percent. 

Health

Effective August 1, anyone looking to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in Minnesota will have to be at least 21 years old. The law, sponsored by Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) and Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) is a statewide approach that hopes to interrupt the cycle of addiction. 

Health policy changes, sponsored by Rep. Cantrell (DFL-Savage) and Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake) will authorize pharmacists to prescribe self-administered hormonal contraceptives, nicotine replacement medications and opiate antagonists used for acute opioid overdoses, require health care providers to give patients their health information and records within 30 days of a written request, and authorize pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccines if and when one becomes available.

A new law aims to make it easier for retired health care workers to return to work during a peacetime emergency, such as the coronavirus pandemic. 

Public Safety

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, calls for police reform have grown louder. Leading the state’s Legislature pass the Minnesota Police Accountability Act, to which Gov. Tim Walz signed. 

Sponsored by Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), the new law, in part, makes changes to police training, use of force and accountability. Additionally, it strengthens transparency and community oversight. 

With this new law, law enforcement agencies will no longer be allowed to provide warrior-style training to a peace officer, an officer will be required to intervene when another officer uses excessive force, a critical incident stress management team will be created to provide those coping with stress and potential psychological trauma, autism training will be required. 

An independent investigation unit will be established to conduct officer-involved death investigations, investigate conflict of interest cases to provide oversight. 

A new law, sponsored by Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), requires the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to create a policy for eyewitness identification. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state must adopt the model policy or one similar. 

The law is meant to require measures that will prevent wrongful convictions by protecting against eyewitness misidentification. 

For more information or view other new laws that the Minnesota Legislature has passed, visit https://www.house.mn/newlaws/#/search/2020.

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