New Laws Going Into Effect Aug. 1

A number of new laws passed during the 2018 legislative session go into effect on Aug. 1. Here’s a look at a few of them from Minnesota Lawyer

Point-of-sale skimming: House File 817 (Rep. Bob Loonan, R-Shakopee) establishes interfering with electronic terminals—automated teller machines, cash dispensing machines, point-of-sale terminals and gas pump dispensers teller—as a serious crime. Offenders implant electronic card-reading devices into terminals to capture stolen data then often use wireless technology to download it to a laptop. The law expands the state’s unauthorized computer-access crime statutes and creates both a gross misdemeanor and a felony level crime for violators.

Fake service animals: House File 3157 (Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston), makes it a crime to knowingly misrepresent an animal as an assistance animal. First-time violations are petty misdemeanors and subsequent offenses are misdemeanors. Businesses are allowed under the law to post a “conspicuous sign” near entrances, stating that real service animals are welcome but fakes are illegal. Property owners are granted immunity for injury or damage caused by a service animal, if the owner believes “in good faith that the animal is an assistance animal or the individual using the assistance animal represents that the animal is an assistance animal,” provided that the damage or injury didn’t result from the property owner’s negligence.

DWI loophole closed: Senate File 3638 (Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch) fully incorporates snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and motorboats into the state’s DWI laws by expanding off-road vehicle operating bans following DWI convictions. The law eliminates a loophole that allowed an offender to retain a driver’s licenses after a DWI involving an off-road vehicle. It also keeps offenders convicted of DWI in any kind of vehicle from operating a motorboat for a 90-day period between May 1 and Oct. 31. The law, dubbed “Little Allen’s Law,” was prompted by the death of 8-year-old boy on Chisago Lake after he was struck by a drunken man who operated a snowmobile despite license revocation from after a prior DWI offense. Separately, the legislation increases awareness for carbon monoxide dangers in fish houses.

Safe Seniors: House File 3833 (Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne), known as the “Safe Seniors Act,” gives broker-dealers and investment advisors authority to alert the Commerce Department or the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center if they suspect that a senior is being financially exploited. It also allows a broker-dealer or investment advisor to freeze a senior’s accounts or delay disbursements, if they suspect a senior has been or is about to be exploited. The law provides immunity from administrative or civil liability if the financial professional acts in good faith to prevent fraud.

Contractor transparency: House File 2899 (authored by Rep. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville) requires residential contractors and insurance adjusters to include in their initial home repair estimates written notice that contractors may not pay any part of a customer’s insurance deductible. The prohibition was already in existence, but the new law makes it mandatory to point out that fact to customers.

Credit unions’ internal policies: House File 3224 (Rep. Randy Jessup, R-Shoreview) updates how state-chartered credit unions may handle their internal policies. The law allows credit unions to adopt, change or jettison their bylaws if a resolution has support from at least 3 percent of members. It also allows members to vote electronically, among other changes. For example, a credit union board can expel a member who violates a membership agreement, breaks the law or otherwise acts inappropriately.