New Minnesota Laws Start on August 1

New Law Creates Military Spouses & Families Day in Minnesota

A number of new laws take effect on August 1st in Minnesota.

A contentious issue involving privacy and police reached a resolution with a new law on automated license plate readers (ALPRs).

It’s the first Minnesota law regulating use of the devices, which several law enforcement agencies have been using for some time.

A temporary rule classifying the data they gather as private or nonpublic is set to expire on Aug. 1, 2015 – the same day the new law will take effect, continuing that classification.

A key provision of the law, sponsored by Rep. Tony Cornish (R–Vernon Center) and Sen. Ron Latz (DFL–St. Louis Park), will require agencies to destroy ALPR data not related to an active criminal investigation after 60 days.

Privacy advocates wanted immediate destruction of the data or “zero retention,” while law enforcement representatives argued for 90 days or more.

Law enforcement agencies holding ALPR data on Aug. 1, 2015, will be required to destroy it within 15 days.

The law will allow police to keep ALPR “hits” and “non–hits” for 60 days with a couple exceptions.

Police will be required preserve the data beyond 60 days whenever a person who is the subject of criminal charges or complaints asks them to preserve the data because it might exonerate him or her.

Police will have to destroy the data earlier than 60 days if requested to do so by a participant in the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program.

The new law limits the data that ALPRs may gather to vehicle license plate numbers; date, time and location data on vehicles; and photos of license plates, vehicles and the area around vehicles.

Police will be able to match the data they gather with ALPRs only to the Minnesota license plate data file, unless they need to access additional databases in the course of an active criminal investigation.

The law will prohibit a statewide database of ALPR data.

Police will only be able to use ALPRs to monitor or track a person who is the subject of an active criminal investigation if they first seek and obtain a warrant from a judge, with probable cause as the standard.

However, in emergency circumstances, such as the kidnapping of a child, police will be able to track a person with ALPRs without first obtaining a warrant.

Law enforcement agencies will have restricted access to the ALPR data they collect.

Only personnel who receive written authority from an agency head will have access for “a legitimate, specified, and documented law enforcement purpose” when they have “a reasonable suspicion that the data are pertinent to an active criminal investigation.”

The law will prohibit sharing data with any other entities.

Access will be subject to standard data–practices procedures such as notifications about security breaches, as well as each agency’s own policies and procedures, including a written policy on ALPRs that each agency using the devices must create and adopt by Jan. 15, 2016.

The law will require an independent audit every two years of each agency’s compliance with provisions on ALPR data classification, destruction and access.

Agencies will have to: * include in public arrest records that they used ALPR data as part of the arrest; * list in public data all electronic–recording technology they maintain; and * keep a public log of their use of ALPRs.

Public logs must include the time of day the agencies used the devices, the number of vehicles or license plates they recorded, the number of “hits” they recorded, and the locations of stationary ALPRs.

Law enforcement agencies must also notify the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension within 10 days of any ALPR use, along with the location of any stationary ALPR.

The BCA will maintain on its website a public list of agencies using ALPRs, including stationary locations.

The agency or BCA may keep its use of ALPRs or the location of stationary out of the public record, but a judge may be asked to review if the information meets the standard of “security data.”

Another new law involves marriage dissolution.

The law makes a certificate mandatory when a marriage is dissolved.

Previous statute provides for a certificate if a court or one of the parties to the divorce wanted one.

A certificate of marriage dissolution will no longer contain the Social Security numbers of the parties to the dissolution or the names and Social Security numbers of any living minor or dependent children.

It will contain the former and new name of any party to the dissolution who is granted a name change.

The sponsors are Rep. John Persell (DFL–Bemidji) and Senate President Sandy Pappas (DFL–St. Paul).

One consumer law means banks and savings institutions will be allowed to offer raffles in an effort to increase the practice of savings, credit unions and banks will be allowed to offer raffle participation to their customers.

A new energy law also starts Saturday.

It amends the definition of energy conservation to create more savings.

The amended definition of “energy conservation measure” will include more measures to a program aimed at helping reduce energy usage.

Sponsored by Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R–Sartell) and Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL–Northfield), the new law changes what is defined as an energy conservation measure in the Uniform Municipal Contracting Law to include water metering devices that increase efficiency or accuracy of water measurement and reduce energy use.

The guaranteed energy savings contract program is aimed at finding operational cost savings in local government units through implementing energy conservation measures.

A new health and human services law gives terminal patients the ‘Right to Try’ FDA investigational drugs.

A terminally ill patient who has exhausted all conventional forms of recovery will be able to have their physician write a prescription for an experimental treatment as a last resort.

Under the Right to Try Act, an experimental drug or device will need to have passed the first phase of a clinical trial, but have yet to be approved for general use by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Manufacturers of qualifying experimental drugs or devices will be able to provide the product free of charge and insurance companies will not be required to cover the cost.

Rep. Nick Zerwas (R–Elk River) and Sen. Branden Petersen (R–Andover) sponsor the law.

Another law provides education for moms with a prenatal diagnosis of chromosome disorders.

Prenatal mothers of babies diagnosed with a specific trisomy conditions, including Edwards, Patau or Down’s syndromes, will receive more evidence–based education about giving birth to a baby diagnosed with the disorder.

Referred to as the Prenatal Trisomy Diagnosis Awareness Act, the law will require those who order a trisomy screening test to provide a woman whose tests results are positive with more information about the diagnosis, including current, evidence–based information, which has been reviewed by medical experts and national trisomy organizations.

Sponsored by Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R–Stillwater) and Sen. John Hoffman (DFL–Champlin), the law also requires medical professionals to tell their patients how to contact nonprofit support groups for trisomy conditions.

The Department of Health will be required to post trisomy condition education information on its website in cultural and linguistically–appropriate languages.

To comply, providers can simply direct the patient to the department’s website.

There are also a couple of new laws for members of the military and veterans.

Hire a veterans month will move to later in calendar year.

For the past decade, the month of May has statutorily been Hire a Veterans Month in Minnesota to urge employers to “give fair and appropriate consideration for hiring military veterans.”

That designation will move to July.

Rep. Dale Lueck (R–Aitkin), who sponsors the law with Sen. Jim Carlson (DFL–Eagan), said the change was requested because May is a busy month for people with things like school graduations, the fishing opener and Mother’s Day all happening.

Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs would like to better work with the Department of Employment and Economic Development which puts on some larger job fairs in July.

Another law creates Military Spouses and Families Day.

It’s a day set aside to honor “the vital support and sacrifice that the spouses and families of military personnel make for the betterment and support of this country.”
Sponsored by Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R–Stillwater) and Sen. Karin Housley (R–St. Marys Point), the law designates the Sunday before Memorial Day as Military Spouses and Families Day.

Minnesota is the second state with such a designation.

The governor shall issue a proclamation each year honoring this observance.

Another law offers extra protection for state security hospital employees.

The extra assault protection will be in place for employees supervising and working directly with mentally ill and dangerous patients at the state security hospital in St. Peter.
Sponsored by Rep. Tony Cornish (R–Vernon Center) and Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL–Mankato), the law provides for an enhanced penalty for anyone that assaults a direct care worker at the facility or intentionally throws or otherwise transfers urine, blood, semen or feces onto the person.

Supporters said residents can already be charged with a low–level crime for their actions, but the law will provide for a felony.

Residents will maintain the right to go before a court and see if they’re competent to stand trial.

The law also expands the definition of “secure treatment facility” to include the entire state security hospital.

Currently, just the sex offender program at the state security hospital falls under the definition, as does the sex offender program in Moose Lake.

An omnibus public safety law addresses guns, bondsman and DWIs It will be a gross misdemeanor to purchase or obtain a firearm on behalf of a person ineligible to purchase or possess one.
The omnibus public safety law also clarifies and delimits the authority of a public official or entity to seize or regulate weapons during a state of emergency.

The law, sponsored by Rep. Tony Cornish (R–Vernon Center) and Sen. Ron Latz (DFL–St. Louis Park), also expands the firearms prohibitions placed on certain offenders to include prohibitions on ammunition, establish criteria for a civilly committed person to regain the right to possess ammunition, clarify that long guns can be purchased and sold to persons in other states, and clarify that prohibitions on possessing ammunition do not apply to ammunition designed for antiques and ornaments.

One other big law starting Saturday increases the fine for texting while driving for repeat offenders.

The fine increase to $225 for second and subsequent texting while driving convictions, in addition to the current $50 fine.

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