From healthy meals for students to protecting animals – new MN laws

By KBJR News 1

From healthy meals for students to protecting animals – new MN laws

July 2, 2014 Updated Jul 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM CDT

Minneapolis, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Many new laws and new investments were implemented Tuesday by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

The governor's office laid out the following laws/investments and explained them:

"–State Budget Reserve hits highest level in history: $150 million was put in Minnesota's state budget reserve today bringing the reserve total to $811 million. This is the largest reserve that Minnesota has ever had.

–Stronger workplace protections for Minnesota women: The legislation, which Governor Dayton signed into law on Mother's Day, strengthens workplace protections for pregnant women and nursing mothers, expands employment opportunities for women in high-wage, high-demand occupations and reduces the gender pay gap through increased enforcement of equal pay laws.

–$54 million in new funding for Minnesota Schools: The supplemental budget signed into law by Governor Dayton last session took effect Tuesday, including $54 million in new funding for Minnesota schools. This new investment will provide additional funding for every school district in the state, fund more early learning scholarships, provide nutritious breakfast and lunches and more. In total, Governor Dayton and this Legislature invested $660 million in E–12 education in 2013 and 2014.

–Healthy meals for Minnesota students: A $4 million investment in school lunch and breakfast programs statewide takes effect Tuesday. These new investments will help ensure 125,000 Minnesota students have access to healthy lunches and breakfasts in school – including free breakfast for all 64,000 Minnesota kindergartners.

–Wage increases for home health care workers: Health care workers who serve seniors and Minnesotans with disabilities will see a 5% wage increase, thanks to an increase in reimbursement rates taking effect Tuesday.

–New railway safety laws take effect: Laws that improve the safety of Minnesotans who live and work near railways that carry crude oil and other hazardous materials went into effect Tuesday. The new laws follow accidents involving crude oil in neighboring states and provinces. They include stricter oversight of railroad companies, require more railway inspections and provide for better emergency response training.

–Nation–leading biodiesel standard takes effect: Diesel drivers on Minnesota roads and highways will be running on cleaner fuel this summer as they start filling up with the nation's first required 10% biodiesel blend. Known as B10, this higher blend will be sold annually from April 1 through September 30. A 5% mixture that works better in Minnesota's winter weather, called B5, will be used between October and late March each year.

–New health and safety protections for dogs and cats: New state regulations to protect the health and safety of dogs and cats took effect Tuesday. During the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature created licensing and inspection requirements for commercial dog and cat breeders. The purpose of the law is to protect and enhance the well–being of dogs and cats that are raised by commercial breeders in Minnesota."

–E–Cig Law: Beginning July 1st, E–Cig use in the state of Minnesota is now under strict regulation. Minnesota limits indoor electronic cigarette use. The measure puts e–cigs behind the counter and requires child-safe packaging.

Ramona Marozas