Letter: New laws take effect SaturdayLegislation aiding job-seeking veterans and new, stricter penalties for human trafficking are just some of the many laws passed during the 2009 Legislative Session that are set to take effect Saturday.
By: Dist. 22 Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, Worthington Daily Globe
Legislation aiding job-seeking veterans and new, stricter penalties for human trafficking are just some of the many laws passed during the 2009 Legislative Session that are set to take effect Saturday.
Although the majority of the past session was spent trying to resolve the state’s budget deficit, we were able to pass many measures that will protect Minnesotans and their families. We always try to support our veterans, and although we didn’t have much money to increase funding, we were able to pass policy that will help them find jobs.
Recently reintegrated veterans will have better access to open state positions due to a new law that is on the books. The law provides that state hiring authorities must consider a veteran for any open position. The employer must grant interviews for the position to the top five veterans who have applied. The provisions aim to help veterans jump back into everyday life following their time spent on tour overseas or in training.
We owe a great deal of gratitude to our returning veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much for a state and nation; the least we can do is give them a fair shot at employment opportunities within the state government.
Legislation passed last session also seeks to enhance and clarify existing laws pertaining to human trafficking. Human trafficking is not new to Minnesota, and it affects communities throughout the state — not just the Twin Cities metro area. New provisions such as increased penalties for offenders, making human trafficking a violent crime, and public awareness notices will give law enforcement and prosecutors better tools in combating human trafficking throughout Minnesota.
The changes we made will help our law enforcement officials keep our communities safer. This crime preys on the most vulnerable citizens. With these added measures we can make the public more aware of this crime and keep the offenders behind bars where they belong.
Other laws taking effect include:
l A new dental therapist position will be able to provide dental care in areas of the state without enough dentists;
l New penalties for all-terrain vehicle riders who harm or destroy sensitive wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas;
l Increased eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits for workers who are forced to quit due to domestic violence, take voluntary furloughs to prevent another employee from taking an involuntary furlough, or to care of an immediate family member.
For more information about these laws and other going into effect this year, visit: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/Newlaws2009-0.asp.