I hope you and your family were able to spend time over the July 4th weekend reflecting on our nation’s independence and the liberties we are so fortunate to enjoy as Americans.
New Laws Taking Effect in July
A number of bills that were passed this session and signed by Governor Walz became law on July 1st.
Here is a brief recap of a few of these new laws:
- Wage Theft: The Omnibus Jobs bill included compromise language on wage theft, appropriating over $2 million for the Department of Labor and Industry to start a Wage Theft Prevention Initiative, as well as making wage theft a felony and punishing employers for retaliating against employees who report wage theft
- DAIRI Program: We appropriated $3 million to the Department of Agriculture to provide financial assistance to dairy farmers who meet certain eligibility requirements through the Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative (DAIRI)
- Voluntary Pre-K Funding: In the Education Omnibus Bill, we appropriated almost $47 million to maintain 4,000 voluntary prekindergarten slots that were set to expire
- Safe Schools Funding: Also in the Education Omnibus Bill, we appropriated $30 million for safe schools grants, and provided we have a sufficient budget surplus in the February Budget Forecast
- Safeguarding Our Elections System: We authorized the Secretary of State to accept nearly $6.6 million in federal Help America Vote Act funds to assist in securing our elections system, as well as providing an additional $2 million for election equipment grants
- Opioid Addiction Response: Effective July 1, an Opioid Advisory Council has been established to invest significant dollars in innovative treatment and social service programs, improved public awareness, and stronger rules to prescriptions and refills for opioids. The account will be funded by $21 million in licensing fees collected from pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors
- Rare Disease Council: The Legislature requested that the University of Minnesota establish a Rare Diseases Advisory Council that will provide recommendations on research, diagnosis, treatment, and education on diseases that affect less than 200,000 in the U.S.
- Marital Rape Exception Repealed: We worked hard this year to remove the “voluntary relationship defense” from law, which will allow individuals accused of committing sexual crimes against a spouse or long-standing partner to be prosecuted
- MNLARS Replacement: Through the Omnibus Transportation bill, we appropriated money to replace the MNLARS program, as well as $13 million to reimburse deputy registrars who were hit especially hard by the disastrous rollout of MNLARS
If you’d like to read more about new laws, click here.
Staying in Touch
I encourage you to reach out to me to share your questions and concerns regarding state government. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-2907 or via email at email@example.com.