Here are some of the new state laws that take effect Aug. 1, 2011.
Summaries of all laws passed by the 2011 Legislature during its regular session are available online from nonpartisan House Public Information Services at www.house.mn/hinfo/Newlaws2011-0.asp.
Employers can organize tip sharing: The law allows employers, at their employees' request, to safeguard and disburse tips according to a sharing agreement; and to report the amounts received for tax purposes. Employees may not coerce employees to share gratuities.
Easier filing for businesses: Now it is easier for businesses to file their records online. The law removes a number of statutory stumbling blocks to implementing an online filing system.
Selected provisions include:
• standardizing the types of data required to be printed on certificates issued to businesses
• streamlining the filing process for business trusts and municipal power and gas agencies
• eliminating mandates requiring the secretary of state to use the U.S. Postal Service rather than electronic means to provide certain notices to businesses
Home repair contractors: A new law modifies a 2010 law relating to contracts for residential home repair and it offers more consumer protection from "fly-by-night" contractors, including those from out of state, who compete for Minnesota contracts after storms or natural disasters.
The law will add siding contractors as well as roofing contractors to those prohibited from offering to pay for an insured's deductible or to compensate an insured as an incentive to gain a contract. It also broadens the current law's language regarding the types of inducements that contractors are forbidden from offering to property owners. It also gives the labor and industry commissioner authority to enforce the law.
Alternative pathways to teacher licensure: Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, alternative licensure programs may be created by a school district or charter school in partnership with a college or university with a Board of Teaching-approved alternative teacher preparation program.
Alternative licensure candidates who meet all criteria will be granted a two-year limited license that the board may renew for an additional year, and may prepare for a standard teaching license. Candidates must have a 3.0 or higher grade-point average or a waiver from the board; pass basic reading, writing and math skills exams; and obtain qualifying scores on board-approved content and pedagogy exams.
The board is directed to streamline the path for teachers holding out-of-state licensure from accredited programs to Minnesota licensure. Candidates who have completed another state's alternative teacher preparation program may apply for a standard Minnesota license.
CPR requirements at child care centers: All teachers and assistant teachers at a child care center must successfully complete CPR training, including CPR techniques for infants and children. At least one staff person with training must be present during field trips and when transporting children. The training would have to occur within 90 days after the start of employment.
Prior to the law, child care centers were required to have at least one trained staff person present in the facility when children are present.
Food inspection exceptions: Certain organizations with tax-exempt status are now exempt from food regulation statutes. Pat Irrthum and Kathy Theel began their efforts to reform the law that jeopardized their church dinners at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Zumbrota after Goodhue County relinquished its food inspection service for nonprofits last year as a cost saving measure. The Department of Health took over the duties for the county and last spring informed parishioners at the church and other area churches that they were in violation of a state law that requires permits for nonprofit events where homemade food is served.
Source: Minnesota House of Representatives, Public Information Services