ST. PAUL - Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, has released information regarding new state laws in effect Aug. 1. A complete list may be found at www.house.leg.state.mn.us.
NO CHARGES ON LOST CELL PHONE
A customer will not be liable for charges resulting from unauthorized use of their cell phone, if the wireless provider has been notified that the phone is lost or stolen.
GAME, FISH AND FOREST REGULATIONS UPDATED
All-terrain vehicle drivers are subject to new penalties designed to protect wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. Violations are a gross misdemeanor and may result in license suspension and/or the seizure of the vehicle upon a second offense.
Off-highway motorcycle riders under age 16 may now ride while under adult supervision.
Several changes are made regarding state parks. Visitors will be able to request multiple vehicle permits beyond the two previously allowed; vehicles carrying students on school-sanctioned trips will not be charged state park entry fees; and a permit will no longer be required to enter Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area south of Litchfield or John A. Latsch State Park north of Winona.
The law updates a number of fishing policies, including:
? the minimum age of a resident is lowered from 18 to 16 who may fish free during “Take a Kid Fishing Weekend” when accompanied by a child under age 16;
? anyone may fish from shore in water that is wholly contained within a state park, except in waters that require a trout stamp;
? residents discharged from active federal military service during the preceding two years may obtain a free license to hunt deer of either sex;
? spearing of fish is added to the list of available lifetime licenses, with exceptions; and
? a nonresident license may be issued to spear fish from a dark house.
PASSING SPEED LIMIT INCREASES FOR SOME
Drivers are allowed to exceed the speed limit by 10 mph when passing another vehicle going the same direction on a two-lane highway with a speed limit of at least 55 mph.
CONTRACTOR OR EMPLOYEE?
A new law addresses the misclassification of some workers in the trucking and courier industry as independent contractors rather than employees. The law lays out factors all needing to be present for a worker to be considered an independent contractor, including when the individual:
? owns the equipment or holds it under a bona fide lease arrangement;
? is responsible for the equipment’s maintenance and operating costs;
? is paid based on work performed, not time expended;
? substantially controls the means and manner of the service performance; and
? enters into a written contract specifying that the relationship is one of an independent contractor and not that of an employee.
PAYING SUBCONTRACTORS PROMPTLY
Subcontractors and suppliers working on residential jobs have the same assurance as those working for commercial contractors that they’ll be paid in a timely manner. A new law strikes language excluding residential subcontractors and suppliers from an existing law which requires prompt payment. Prime contractors or subcontractors who hire other subcontractors or suppliers must pay those they hire within 10 days from the date payment is requested. The law also stipulates interest to be paid on late payments.
FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL DAY CREATED
The first Sunday in October is designated Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day. On that day, each U.S. and Minnesota flag on the Capitol grounds will be flown at half-staff.
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes most of Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s fourth term in the Legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.