18 New Laws Take Effect in Minnesota

The new laws will affect various groups, including small businesses, energy companies, and law enforcement.

Eighteen new state laws took effect Wednesday and will affect a variety of businesses, ranging from energy companies to firearms dealers.

One law grants energy companies with high-voltage power lines the first chance to build new lines if a regional planning process calls for their construction. A recent federal law took that opportunity away from energy companies and gave states the power to choose who would build new lines, according to a release from the Minnesota House of Representatives. The new Minnesota law maintains the former status quo and gives energy companies the “right of first refusal” to build, own, and service new power lines.

Two new laws will benefit law enforcement and the firearms industry, the House of Representatives said. The first allows police to sell forfeited firearms to licensed gun dealers; previously, all forfeited firearms that weren’t used for training were required to be destroyed. Seventy percent of the proceeds from the sale will go to the law enforcement agency.

The second law allows licensed firearms dealers, importers, and manufacturers to demonstrate their guns using silencers, which partially suppress the sound of a gunshot. Before the new law was enacted, silencers had been prohibited except for use by some law enforcement and wildlife control agencies, according to the House of Representatives. The new law allows sellers to fully demonstrate a gun and silencer in order to sell either of the two parts for authorized activities. There are 25 federally licensed firearm manufacturers and 1,600 dealers in the state, according to the release.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association, which represents small gas stations in Minnesota, submitted the proposal for a bill that established a new law for preventing “drive-offs” at gas stations. Small gas stations may now have a trade association act on their behalf to serve notices to and collect payments from customers who filled their tanks at a gas station and left without paying. The law also allows for an inference of theft to be made if a customer drives away without paying.

Additionally, several changes to state law have been made regarding the sale and possession of synthetic drugs. The sale of synthetic drugs has been upgraded to a felony, and the list of illicit substances has been expanded. The Board of Pharmacy has also been given expedited rulemaking authority in dealing with future chemical formulas used by drug producers.

Other laws that took effect Wednesday involve a gardening program for prison inmates, increased stipends for military honor guards, harsher penalties for neglect of vulnerable adults, and the requirement of crossing arms on school buses.

To read the full list of new state laws, click here.