Minnesota Legislature

(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

The following is a list of new laws passed during the 2022 legislative session, and one from 2021, that take effect July 1, 2022.

AGRICULTURE

Drought relief, agriculture and broadband efforts in the state get funding boost

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake).

Among the provisions taking effect are:

• a $25 million General Fund appropriation in fiscal year 2023 will be transferred to the Border-to-Border Broadband program that helps bring broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved parts of the state;

• the Agriculture Department can provide farm down payment assistance grants of up to $15,000 per eligible farmer;

• modifications, including eligibility criteria, to the Bioincentive Program whereby the Agriculture Department pays eligible entities that produce qualifying advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals or biomass thermal energy;

• establishment of a soil health financial assistance pilot program; and

• the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute will have an additional $300,000 added to its fiscal year 2024 base for equipment upgrades and replacement, installation expenses and laboratory infrastructure for sites in Crookston, Marshall and Waseca. An additional $200,000 will be added to the base in fiscal year 2024 and thereafter to maintain levels of service.

BUSINESS AND COMMERCE

Nonprofit credit counseling services list required

The Department of Commerce will be required to create and maintain a list of nonprofit credit counseling organizations and require debt collection agencies include the list in their first written communication to a debtor.

Rep. Jordan Rasmusson (R-Fergus Falls) and Sen. Karin Housley (R-Stillwater) sponsor the law.

Fraud bureau beefed up, language and policies amended

In part, a new law expands jurisdiction of the Commerce Department Fraud Bureau and offers additional funding for enforcement staff.

Sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) and Rep. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls).

The bureau’s jurisdiction no longer is limited to insurance fraud; its primary jurisdiction is offenses with a “nexus to insurance related or financial crimes.” For example, the bureau can investigate financial crimes such as wage theft.

The legislation includes a supplemental budget appropriation of $870,000 from the General Fund in fiscal year 2023 for five additional peace officers in the Commerce Fraud Bureau.

EDUCATION

Maximum income limit for school board members raised

A new law increases the maximum amount a school board member employed by that district may earn from that employment. The law raises the maximum earnings limit from $8,000 to $20,000 per fiscal year.

Rep. Michael Howard (DFL-Richfield) and Sen. Zach Duckworth (R-Lakeville) are the sponsors.

2021 omnibus provisions

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), the changes include:

• a publicly funded preschool or kindergarten program cannot have a child use an individual-use screen without engagement from a teacher or other students. A child with an individualized family service plan, an individualized education program or a 504 plan is excluded from this requirement; and

• all pre-K-12 education grants awarded after July 1 must be awarded through a framework that encourages the goals of the grants to be aligned to Minnesota’s World’s Best Workforce and the federal government’s student accountability systems. Grant recipients will need to use evidence-based practices and report on their activities to the Department of Education and the Legislature.

ENVIRONMENT

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund spending

The $70.88 million fiscal year 2023 appropriations from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund covers more than 100 projects.

Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) sponsor the law that mostly takes effect July 1.

Funding in the law includes:

• $26.18 million for 14 habitat and recreation projects, including nearly $7.4 million for state trail rehabilitation and enhancement;

• $11.29 million for 11 projects to protect, restore and enhance land, water and habitat;

• $6.23 million to support the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center to fund research projects to better manage invasive plants, pathogens, and pests on Minnesota’s natural and agricultural lands;

• $5.78 million for water resources;

• $843,000 for air quality and renewable energy projects; and

• $200,000 to build and improve living snow fences consisting of trees, shrubs, native grasses and wildflowers.

FAMILY

Office of the Foster Youth Ombudsperson created

Resources, advocacy and visibility are some pluses of a new law aimed at protecting children, some who’ve already experienced hard times.

An Office of the Foster Youth Ombudsperson and Board of the Foster Youth Ombudsperson will be created thanks to a new law.

Per the law, “The foster youth ombudsperson is accountable to the governor and may investigate decisions, acts, and other matters related to the health, safety, and welfare of youth in foster care to promote the highest attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and justice for youth who are in the care of the state.”

The Board of the Foster Youth Ombudsperson will make recommendations to the foster youth ombudsperson and staff while continuously overseeing the ombudsperson’s work.

Rep. Jessica Hanson (DFL-Burnsville) and Sen. Karin Housley (R-Stillwater) sponsor the law.

HEALTH

New law reorganizes, clarifies statutes regarding disability waivers

A new law reorganizes statutes regarding the disability waiver rate system, which sets reimbursement rates for home- and community-based disability services under Medicaid.

It also aims to make the statutes easier to read and amend, by, for example, rendering terms more consistent and making the basic format of the rate calculations consistent. It requires the Department of Human Services to recommend an update to the competitive workforce factor every two years. It cannot change by more than 2%.

The law is sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth) and Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka).

HHS policy law modifies programs, projects and regulations

A new law makes changes to policies governing the Health and Human Services departments.

The wide-ranging law sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth) and Sen. Jim Abeler (RAnoka) makes changes affecting child welfare and protection, health-related licensing boards, behavioral health policies, continuing care for older adults, services for people with disabilities, programs to protect children and vulnerable adults, preventing homelessness, economic assistance, and licensing and operations policies at the Department of Human Services.

Provisions that take effect include:

• establishment of a loan forgiveness program for individual home and community-based services workers for education in nursing and other health care fields;

• permitting licensed pharmacists to inject prescribed medication and place drug monitoring devices;

• clarifying that federally recognized tribal nations are eligible to receive emergency services grants from the Department of Human Services; and

• clarifying regulations on products containing cannabinoids.

HIGHER EDUCATION

State senator’s diagnosis spurs funding for ALS research and support

A bipartisan effort to provide hope and help for people living with a debilitating neurological disorder has resulted in a combined $25 million to fund ALS research and caregiver support programs.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. It has no cure.

Sen. David Tomassoni (I-Chisholm), who sponsors the law with Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL-Aurora), was diagnosed last year with ALS.

The law will appropriate $20 million in fiscal year 2023 to promote research related to prevention, treatment, causes, and hopefully an eventual cure.

The Office of Higher Education will award competitive grants to applicants. It also appropriates $5 million in fiscal year 2023 to the Board on Aging, to support families caring for people living with ALS and to provide home medical respite care.

The one time appropriation for both purposes is available through June 30, 2026.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission employees get reclassified

State civil service includes both classified and unclassified service, which operate under different employment laws governing hiring, discipline, and discharge decisions.

The new law transitions employees of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission from unclassified to classified service, without loss of seniority.

Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) sponsor the law.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Wagers on horse races will help competitors later in life

A new law will allow breeders fund dollars to also be used to support the adoption, retirement and repurposing of racehorses.

The fund gets its money, in part, from fees, taxes, and set-asides on race track and card club activity, including a tax on the live racing handle at Canterbury Park and Running Aces, and a fee on wagers by Minnesota residents with an advance deposit wagering provider.

Rep. Ami Wazlawik (DFL-White Bear Township) and Sen. Zach Duckworth (R-Lakeville) sponsor the law that has zero cost to the state.

Trio wrongly imprisoned will get relief via claims law

This year’s law calls for $813,315 in payments in fiscal year 2023 to three people who sought relief under the Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act that provides a compensation process for cases where a person was exonerated of a felony for which they were wrongfully incarcerated.

The awards are:

• $423,212 to Benjamin Hill, who was wrongfully imprisoned/on supervised release for five years;

• $225,000 to Joseph Livingston, who spent two years and seven days in prison; and

• $165,103 to Bryan Bemboom, who served 23 months in prison.

Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown) and Sen. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo Township) sponsor the law.

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