Despite a split legislature failing to see eye-to-eye on many issues, Minnesota lawmakers did pass some major policy provisions this session.
Here are a few set to go into effect at the beginning of next month.
Wage theft was one of the biggest issues in the jobs and energy department last session. Committees in the House and Senate passed an omnibus bill that included new provisions to prevent employers from denying employees fair pay.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry estimates up to 40,000 workers in the state pursue wage theft complaints annually. New legislation will make wage theft a felony and establish fines for employers that fail to submit proper documentation of wages. The law goes into effect July 1, but the criminal provisions will go into effect Aug. 1. To enforce these policies, the law also grants the Department of Labor and Industry $3.1 million. Lawmakers have called these wage theft prevention laws among thetoughest in the country.
The Minnesota Legislature saw national attention after theStar Tribunedetailed the experiences of Minnesota woman Jenny Teeson, who was drugged and raped by her then husband. Because of a statue in Minnesota law, called the “voluntary relationship defense,” her husband was exempted from criminal charges.With unanimous support in the House and Senate, lawmakers passed abilleliminating the statute in early May. The bill will take effect July 1.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues all session, Minnesota lawmakers managed to passlegislationto fund opioid epidemic prevention. Set to take effect July 1, one bill passed with bipartisan support would establish increased fees for opiate manufacturers. Under the new law, manufacturers distributing more than 2 million units in or into the state will face a registration fee of $250,000. This money will go toward a council aimed at creating a response to the opioid epidemic.
Gov. Tim Walz has emphasized K-12 education throughout his time in office. Effective July 1, the state's education budget will see a 2 percent increase to its base funding, or about $388 million ever year.
New policies also outline funding for the state's higher education institutions. The University of Minnesota will receive $43.5 million in additional funding, or half of its initial budget request. The Minnesota State system will receive $81.5 million, or around a third of its $246 million ask.
Also effective July 1 are a number of provisions affecting farmers and rural Minnesotans. The state will invest $40 million out of its General Fund for expanding broadband infrastructure in "underserved" parts of Minnesota. The state will also invest nearly $4 million in additional funding to the Department of Agriculture, in part to fund mental health programs for Minnesota farmers.