New Laws Go Into Effect Tuesday

Created: 06/30/2014 10:49 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- It was a big year for Minnesota lawmakers who took up medical marijuana, a state bullying bill, and equal pay for women in this past legislative session.

And on Tuesday many of the laws enacted this spring will go into effect.

Apart from medical marijuana, legislators took aim at a number of health related topics this session, namely electronic cigarettes.

Despite supporters saying there's little research proving they have a negative impact on a person's health, starting Tuesday, e-cigs will be banned from all government buildings as well as day cares and health care facilities.

In a matter concerning both health and public safety, the growing heroin epidemic was the target of legislators in both the House and Senate who unanimously passed Steve's Law.

The law was named for Steve Rummler, a financial advisor who died of a heroin overdose in 2011.

Starting Tuesday, those who call 9-1-1 because a friend is having an overdose cannot be charged with possession of an illegal substance. The idea is to remove any barriers to medical treatment and avoid preventable deaths.

"What this tells me is that our society, at least here in Minnesota, we're starting to view addiction as an actual disease rather than judging people who have the disease of addiction as having moral failings,” said Lexi Reed-Holtum, Steve’s fiancé who currently serves as the Vice President of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation that works to increase awareness about addiction.

Steve's Law also allows first responders and even those who suspect their loved one may be at risk of overdosing on heroin to carry an anti-overdose medication called Naloxone to try and save lives.

To dissuade another type of crime, a new law effective Tuesday requires used cell phone dealers to keep detailed records of those who sell them in an effort to crack down on smartphone thefts.

But the real impact comes in July of 2015 when all smartphones bought or sold in Minnesota will be required to have a “kill switch” to wipe the phone clean.

Also starting Tuesday, law enforcement agencies across the state will no longer be allowed to hire part-time officers.

Supporters say it will help professionalize departments, but some small towns that rely on part-time officers could end up hurting.

"It won't affect us currently, but in the future it will,” said Kent Berghuis, assistant police chief in Kasson. “It might bring some more expense to the city as far payroll."

Experts said there are very few officers working on part-time licenses in southern Minnesota because of an abundance of full-time licensed officers.

Part-time officers only need about 40 hours of training while a full-time officer’s license usually requires a two-year degree.