9 new Minnesota laws that go live Aug. 1 - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

9 new Minnesota laws that go live Aug. 1

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

August 1 marks the day several new laws go live in Minnesota.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Same sex marriage is officially legal in Minnesota starting at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1.

Following a 75-59 vote in the House and a 37-30 vote in the Senate, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage and the first Midwestern state to pass it by a legislative vote.

The new law includes legal protections for religious groups that do not wish to marry same-sex couples, which means the law allow churches to perform marriages at their own discretion.

WILDFIRE ARSON

A fire that does damage or poses a threat to five or more buildings, burns 500 acres or more or does significant crop damage can result in a felony charge. It would carry up to 10 years in prison and the potential for a $15,000 fine.

If the affected properties climb above 100 buildings or if the fire causes bodily harm, harsher punishment could ensue.

People convicted under the law could also be subject to greater restitution costs than they were under a prior statute.

NO 911 PRANKSTERS

Pranksters who dial 911 without a real emergency to report face stiffer penalties. If the phony call results in a serious injury, it could mean felony charges.

Anyone who makes a 911 call if there's no emergency could be charged with a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor for repeat offenses. It covers phone calls and text messages.

DAY CARE UNIONIZATION

After an all-night session, Minnesota law will now allow any employee union who wishes to represent a day care provider may now seek exclusive representation.

The legislation would allow union organizing votes by in-home child care workers who receive government subsidies, and by in-home attendants who care for the elderly and disabled. It's backed by the state chapters of AFSCME and SEIU, the two unions seeking to organize the workers.

HUNTING LICENSE FEES

Some fees for youth hunting and spear fishing licenses have been reduced or eliminated. Fees have also been reduced for multi-season super sport licenses.

SICK LEAVE

Employees of companies that have at least 21 workers can now use sick leave to care for an adult child, spouse, grandparent or step-parent.

The law does not force employers to offer sick leave policies, but employers with existing sick leave policies must extend them to allow workers to care for close relatives.

BEER GROWLERS

"Save the Growler" legislation allows breweries to sell 64-ounce bottles of beer, or "growlers" as they grow their business.

FORECLOSURE

Mortgage companies and banks cannot foreclose on a customer at the same time as they work with the customer to process a loan modification to allow the customer to stay in the home -- a practice called "dual tracking."

PROSTITUTION

New state law allows authorities to forfeit the cash that was used or intended for use in soliciting sex -- it applies to prostitutes, patrons or pimps. The seized money comes on top of other penalties offenders can potentially face, including time behind bars or hefty fines.

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