New Minnesota laws take effect today
WORTHINGTON — A string of new laws passed during the 2014 legislation go into effect today.
Under new legislation, the state’s minimum hourly wage will increase to $8 from $6.15, moving up to $9.50 by 2016.
Businesses with gross annual sales of at least $500,000 will be required to assume an $8 minimum hourly wage beginning today, followed by $9 in August 2015 and $9.50 one year later.
For businesses under $500,000 in gross annual sales, a $6.50 minimum hourly wage will begin today. It will rise to $7.25 in August 2015 and reach $7.75 one year later.
Beginning in 2018, all wages will increase on Jan. 1 each year according to inflation measured by the implicit price deflator capped at 2.5 percent.
Local businesses owners weighed in on the minimum wage increase and its potential effects.
“I think the big thing it’s going to hurt is the employment of 14 or 15-year-olds,” Burger King owner-operator Chad Nixon said. “There are already strict guidelines in hiring employees at that age anyway, but this will make it more difficult to hire someone at that age at that higher wage.
“It’s really a shame, because there is nothing more rewarding than seeing that kid get their first job and being able to be a part of developing their work ethic that they will have for the rest of their life,” he added.
Nixon also said Burger King does not plan to increase prices at this point.
Glen Gust, owner of Glen’s Food Center in Luverne, doesn’t support the minimum wages changes.
“I think that the government telling employers what to pay their people is not how this country was built,” Gust said, “I think this will really hurt students finding work.”
Several recent high-profile data breaches by public employees, including one by a former Department of Natural Resources employee who inappropriately accessed thousands of driver’s license files, spurred another notable new law that goes into effect today that lays out penalties and preventive measures for such actions.
The law now requires procedures for ensuring that private data is accessible only to those whose work assignment calls for that access.
It will expand current law to require all government entities, not just state agencies, to notify individuals if a breach of their data has occurred. It will also establish penalties for employees responsible for the breach.
A series of public safety laws go into effect today as well.
Someone who commits domestic violence or stalks another person may lose access to firearms under one new law. This now prohibits persons subject to an orders for protection in a child or domestic abuse case from possessing weapons for the length of the order under certain circumstances. It also requires them to surrender their firearms as would someone convicted of a domestic assault or stalking offense, if being prohibited from possessing firearms is part of their punishment.
The new law does not allow the government to take guns without due process or a court conviction, nor does it allow illegal searches and seizures.
Another new law expands drivers’ responsibilities following a collision by requiring them to stop and investigate what was struck. It also expands what conditions require a motorist to remain at the scene. Additionally, the term “accident” will be replaced by “collision” in hit-and-run provisions in state statute.
To see the full list of laws that take in effect today visit house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/leginfo/0814nlrelease.pdf.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.