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Minnesota’s New Laws That Went into Effect on July 1

The handful of new laws include a ban on non-compete clauses, a requirement to address increasing violence against health-care workers and an expansion of voting allowances for incarcerated individuals.

After Jul. 1 Minnesota employers are banned from putting non compete clauses into employment contracts.

The move would prevent employers from restricting employees from taking another job with a competing business directly after leaving their positions.

Other state laws taking effect beginning Jul. 1 includes safety protections for health care workers.

Called the Nurse and Patient Safety Act, it will include a directive for incident response action plans to be required at all hospitals to address increasing violence against healthcare workers. The law lays out specific criteria for the implementation of these action plans.

Also in the law, the health professional education loan forgiveness program will expand to include direct care nurses at nonprofit hospitals. The law also directs the health department to produce a report on the status of the state's nursing workforce and must include information on the reasons licensed nurses are leaving direct care positions at hospitals as well as information on retention by hospitals of licensed nurses; and information on reasons licensed nurses are choosing not to renew their licenses and leave the profession altogether.

Another new law taking effect will be one affecting the right for convicted felons to vote. According to the Secretary of State's Office, all Minnesotans who are not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction are now able to register to vote. Also, eligible 16 and 17-year olds are now also able to pre-register to vote, becoming automatically registered the day they turn 18.

Through the 2023 Ag bill, more funding will be rolling in for rural broadband in the state. Funding will be directed to the Office of Broadband Development.

Also, tucked away in the commerce finance and policy law, a provision that requires health plans to limit patient co-pays to no more than $25 per one-month supply of prescription drugs used to treat chronic diseases.

In the same bill, the "Digital Fair Repair Act" prohibits manufacturers from having exclusive rights to repair their products as well as prohibiting lenders from collecting on loans made under coercion by a third party, such as a domestic abuser.

Some of the other appropriations include $1.8 million for the unclaimed property program; $1.6 million for five additional peace officers in the Commerce Department's Fraud Bureau; $800,000 for Prepare and Prosper, a financial services program assisting low-income and financially underserved populations to build savings and strengthen credit; and $498,000 for the senior safe fraud prevention program.

Through the Omnibus law, district court judges will get 8 percent pay raises in fiscal year 2024 and 4 percent in fiscal year 2025. The compensation pool is increased so judicial employees could receive performance-based raises of 9 percent in fiscal year 2024 and 6 percent in fiscal year 2025. Also, the state's public safety, judiciary and corrections departments and agencies will receive $3.56 billion in the 2024-25 biennium. The same budget law also contains dozens of policy updates and changes, including two high-profile gun-control measures.

The Public Safety law will put certain limits on the ability of judges to issue no-knock search warrants. Limits include that if a resident is not home or would pose a life or death safety risk to law enforcement.

Another act voted into law is the Minnesota Human Rights Act to prohibit hair discrimination. This will now prohibit discrimination based on "traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs and twists." The text of the law is based on the CROWN Act: "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair."

(c)2023 the Fergus Falls Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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