New Minnesota Laws for 2018
The law is ever-adapting to new needs and changing circumstances. As society evolves, so to must the legal system that keeps it in check. Like most states, Minnesota lawmakers passed a variety of laws that came into effect in the new year. Starting January 1, 2018, a new set of laws began to govern the people of Minnesota, making changes to special elections, health insurance coverage, license plates, and more. Keeping up with the latest pieces of legislation in the North Star State can help you exercise your rights and stay out of legal trouble.
Changes to Special Election Dates
The state of Minnesota has selected five uniform dates that are now the only times cities, towns, and school districts may hold special elections, or elections to fill openings in public offices. The five available dates are as follows:
- Second Tuesday in February
- Second Tuesday in April
- Second Tuesday in May
- Second Tuesday in August
- First Tuesday after the first Monday in November
The only time an entity can hold a special election outside of these dates is in the event of an emergency or disaster. Furthermore, school districts can now only consolidate polling locations if the district is holding an isolated election. School districts must select polling place locations from a list of already-designated polling places within the district.
Insurance Now Covers Eye Drop Refills
There is a new statewide law that makes it mandatory for health plans that provide coverage for prescription eye drops to also cover eye drop refills before a 30- or 90-day supply expires. The law will apply to all health insurance plans Minnesotans purchase or renew on or after January 1, 2018. The law only applies to plans that already cover prescription eye drops. Talk to your insurance company if you run into any issues getting coverage for refills.
New Training for Home-Care Providers
Home-care providers, workers, and caregivers will now have access to special training about age-related hearing loss. Hearing loss is a serious issue among the elderly that can take away an individual’s independence, make the person feel isolated from friends and loved ones, and contribute to depression and harmful falls. Home-care workers can now include hearing-loss training in their annual requirements. Staff that performs direct services must take annual training to address issues such as infection control, home care bill of rights, and maltreatment reporting.
Specialty License Plates Now Available
Drivers can now opt to purchase specialty vehicle plates to honor fallen law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. For an additional $10 state plate fee, a $25 donation to the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA), and a $5 annual donation to the association in subsequent years, you can get this specialty plate. LEMA provides services such as maintenance of the law enforcement state memorial, management of the volunteer honor guard, counseling and financial assistance for family members after the death of an on-duty officer, and more. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is in charge of the plate’s design.
Another new specialty license plate option is available for moped and motorized bicycle riders. There will now be disability license plates for these vehicles available. Owners of these vehicles can also apply for specialty plates that say “Start Seeing Motorcycles,” which are available with an annual donation to the Motorcycle Safety Fund. Retired law enforcement officers can also apply for specialty license plates for their mopeds and motorized bikes, with details about their service in the design. Your local Department of Motor Vehicles should have these specialty plates available starting January 1st.