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Here are some of the new Minnesota laws that come into effect today

Some 40 new laws passed in the previous legislative session became effective on Aug. 1.
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It's August 1 and that means dozens of new laws passed by the Minnesota Legislature earlier this year come into effect.

We've had a look through the full list of new laws and picked out some that are particularly notable.

Crackdown on fake service animals

This bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Green (R–Fosston) and Sen. Justin Eichorn (R–Grand Rapids) will impose a $100 fine on anyone trying to pretend their pets are trained service animals to obtain rights or privileges afforded to genuine service animals.

It is now a petty misdemeanor, which follows instances across the country where untrained pets have attacked genuine service animals.

Protection for seniors from financial exploitation

The elderly are a popular target for scammers trying to convince them to part ways with their savings, which is why the "Safe Seniors Act" is being introduced.

It will allow broker dealers and investment advisors the authority to report potential exploitation of their elderly clients, as well as the ability to freeze their accounts or delay disbursements if they feel exploitation has occurred.

$850M from 3M to improve east metro water

After 3M settled a lawsuit from the State of Minnesota over the impact of perflurochemicals that had leached into eastern Twin Cities water supplies over a period of decades, a new law sets out how that $850 million will be spent.

The law states it will be used for drinking water and natural resource project in an area that includes Woodbury, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Afton, Newport, West Lakeland and Grey Cloud Island. Some $720 million of this will be immediately available to provide long-term solutions providing clean drinking water.

Sibling bill of rights

This law establishes a set of rights for siblings in foster care. It means that children have the right to be placed with their siblings when they enter foster care, and the right to visit their siblings in the event they are separated.

Rights for unmarried parents who separate

To avoid lengthy court battles, unmarried parents filing for joint child custody will get the same rights as divorcing parents. It will allow them to file joint petitions for custody, parenting time and child support in family court.

Creditors can't touch your Health Savings Account.

If you're in debt and your creditors are trying to recoup the money you owe them, they can no longer go after the first $25,000 you've got saved i your health or medical savings accounts. 

Towns can provide grants to food shelves

The new law sponsored by Rep. Sondra Erickson (R–Princeton) and Sen. Andrew Mathews (R–Milaca) allows town governing bodies to use general fund or any other unrestricted funds to provide grants to nonprofits running community food shelves for the needy. Cities and counties have been able to do this since the 1990s.

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Faster sexual assault exam kit testing

The new law sets consistent terminology and timeframes for handling sexual assault examination kits, which comes after many were left unexamined by law enforcement for years across Minnesota.

Under the new law, a law enforcement agency will be required to submit a rape kit for forensic testing within 60 days of receiving it, unless they can prove it wouldn't add evidentiary value to the case.

You can't sell Kratom to minors

Kratom, a herbal product which is used as an opioid substitute but isn't a controlled substance under federal laws, will not be sold to under 18s thanks to a new law.

The Minnesota House says the herbal drug has no accepted medical use and has "high potential for abuse." Mixing kratom with alcohol or sedatives "creates an increased risk of a severe adverse reaction, including death," but recognizes that "some people responsibly use kratom to manage pain."

Under the new law, selling kratom to under 18s will be a gross misdemeanor.

"Little Alan's Law."

This closes a loophole in Minnesota DWI laws. We wrote about it on Tuesday, you can find more here.

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