On January 1, 2015, several new laws went into effect in Minnesota. Many of these new laws may directly affect your life, so we’ve broken them down into sections: boats, driving, nurses, expungement, and lifeguards.
If you trailer a boat or water-related equipment like docks and lifts, you must take Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) training and get a trailer decal. Trailer decals will be required starting July 1, 2015.
AIS training is required for anyone transporting watercraft or water-related equipment in Minnesota, whether you live here, are visiting, or are simply traveling through the state. Every 3 years, you will need to complete the training and receive a new decal.
You can take the training online or through a paper home-study course after January 31, 2015. Once you register for the class, you receive a temporary pass that gives you 7 days to complete the training (in case you need to transport your boat before you can complete the training). The costs for the training are still being determined.
For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.
New graduated driver’s license standards
As of January 1, 2015, new graduated driver’s license standards call for 50 supervised behind-the-wheel hours instead of 30, with 15 nighttime driving hours instead of 10. The total required hours drop from 50 to 40 if the parent attends a 90 minute class. According to Sgt. Troy Christianson, “The parent awareness class is critical to understanding today’s teen driving risks, Minnesota’s teen driving laws, and how to help your teen become a safer driver.”
At the time of the road exam, a driving log showing supervised hours must be submitted. If applicable, a certificate of completion for the parent class must also be turned in to drop the required hours from 50 to 40.
Veteran Plates for Women
According to a Minnesota House of Representatives press release about new laws taking effect Jan. 1, “[f]emale veterans will have the opportunity to be acknowledged on their vehicles in a way similar to veterans of various wars and conflicts or those who were awarded medals of distinction, such as a Silver Star.” Female veterans can pay a $10 fee to receive specialized plates with the inscription “WOMAN VETERAN.”
The next time you visit a primary care provider, you may be seeing an advance practice registered nurse (APRN). As an attempt to increase health care access and create more primary care providers, APRNs will receive greater independence. They must complete 2,080 hours under an agreement with a physician, clinical nurse specialist (CNS), or another APRN, and then can independently practice as primary care providers in the role of CNS, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner.
Convicted and reformed Minnesotans struggling to find housing and employment because of background checks involving the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) may qualify for their records to be expunged and sealed. Only people with certain kinds of convictions may qualify for expungement, and the person must remain crime-free for a period of time after the conviction. Applicants must also prove sealing their record outweighs any public safety concerns. Eviction records can also be sealed if there is a finding in favor of the tenant.
Part of this new law also protects business owners and landlords from liability based on expunged records (Council on Crime and Justice).
“Tony Caine’s Law,” named for a 6 year old who drowned at a beach in 2012, requires lifeguards at beaches owned or operated by local governments to be certified in first aid and CPR for adults and children through the Red Cross or a similar program.
While not all of these laws will affect you directly, they probably will have an impact on someone you know. These new laws are designed to make Minnesotans more informed and better practiced, as well as give easier access to healthcare, housing, and employment.