Legislative action: A look at new Minnesota laws taking effect this Saturday
Several new laws take effect across Minnesota this Saturday, July 1st; including a huge perk for college students, and a dramatic change to the way we feed public school students.
Minnesota’s Education Finance Law is just one of the pieces of legislation taking effect and its provisions are vast. It includes a 10% bump in funding for public schools all across the state, and will provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, K-12, across Minnesota. That provision in particular, has Scott Anderson–the Food Service Coordinator for Proctor Public Schools–excited.
“It’s not just about the food that they’re getting, but it’s it’s their overall educational experience here,” said Anderson. “That also helps educationally because kids can come in. If they don’t get breakfast at home, they’ll get a free breakfast here, so they’ll be paying attention in class and in hopefully paying attention in class and just doing well with respect to their studies. So our district and our food service staff are all very excited to have this offering. Again. We’ve got students in the district that really need this program.”
Also coming July 1st, free tuition to Minnesota’s public colleges, for families earning less than $80,000 per year.
“This is a great complement to some different grant programs at the University of Minnesota already has,” said Lynne Williams, Marketing and Public Relations Director for the University of Minnesota. “And the University of Minnesota has really committed to access and affordability for education. So this is just another way that if your tuition wasn’t covered and you promise and you meet the income qualifications, it’s another way to help fill that gap.”
The Digital Fair Repair Act also goes into effect Saturday, saving consumers money by making their devices easier to repair. $2.5 million will be given to local governments in Minnesota, to assist with election infrastructure and staffing.
Protections for Emerging Farmers and Grain Sellers: The law will create a grain indemnity fund to protect grain sellers from financial loss should an elevator go bankrupt. $4 million in funds will go to the Dairy Assistance, Investment, Relief Initiative program, which supports Minnesota’s smaller dairy farms. Additionally, the new law also appropriates $10 million to the get off the ground fund for new farmers.
A provision of the new law will provide $125.7 million to the Office of Broadband Development within the Department of Agriculture to expand access to broadband internet in rural Minnesota.
The new law allocates funds to state organizations and localities to establish programs and regulatory frameworks to regulate, tax and manage Minnesota’s future recreational cannabis industry. Including an Office of Cannabis Management, in charge of prohibiting cannabis products that are packaged in a way attractive to children, establishing environmental standards for the industry and setting limits on the personal use of cannabis for individuals 21 years of age or older.
Another law taking effect on July 1st will bring expanded consumer protections; including a measure requiring health plans to limit co-pays to $25, for a one-month supply of prescription drugs used to treat a chronic disease. The “Digital Fair Repair Act” will also be enacted, which will save consumers money by prohibiting manufacturers from having exclusive rights to repair their products. Consumer protections for domestic abuse victims are also included; lenders will now be prohibited from collecting on loans made under coercion by a third party, such as a domestic abuser.
Local governments in Minnesota will receive $2.5 million in fiscal years 2023-25 to assist with election infrastructure and staffing.
A new law will require up to 32 weeks of mental health treatment before a police officer or firefighter with a psychological condition such as PTSD, can apply for duty or disability benefits, to try to lower the number of PTSD retirements among first responders.
A new law seeks to hasten the transition to renewable energy by establishing a budget, and appropriating funds. Like the $16.1 million for the Solar Schools program, and the $6 million for electric school bus grants.
A new law appropriates over $800 million to “protect, enhance, and restore” everything from plant and wildlife habitats to water sources. As well as devoting funds to preserving arts and cultural heritage, and supporting parks and trails.
Health and Human Services:
The Nurse and Patient Safety Act aims to improve working conditions for health care workers. Over $10.6 million will be set aside to forgive loans for newly eligible workers.
- Free breakfast and lunch for all students, k-12 at Minnesota’s public schools.
- Free tuition to Minnesota’s public colleges for students whose families earn less than $80,000 per year.
$13.5 million will be given to post-secondary institutions for upgrades in equipment and learning environments, and a scholarship program that will provide free tuition for qualifying Indigenous students at the state’s public postsecondary institutions will receive $17 million.
A new law will fund a broad range of assistance programs across the housing continuum, from state rental assistance to homelessness prevention to homeownership opportunities.
Military and Veterans Affairs:
A new law will provide funding for Minnesota’s veterans and its military affairs departments. Including; $15 million for service bonuses to post9/11 veterans, and $3 million for enlistment and retention bonuses.
The new law places significant limits on when a judge can issue a no-knock search warrant, only allowing it when a search cannot be while the location is unoccupied and “the occupant or occupants of the dwelling will present an immediate threat of death or injury to the officers executing the warrant if the officers announce their presence or purpose prior to entering the dwelling.”
A new law which will begin a large state investment meant to help ensure the health and longevity of state pensions.
A new law will facilitate increases in funding, fees and taxes across Minnesota’s transportation sectors. Including; providing dedicated funds for small cities, and reducing the penalty level to a petty misdemeanor for some transit violations.