ST. PAUL, MN — The start of a new month means new laws are now in effect in Minnesota.
The new laws include what state officials call one of the toughest wage theft laws in the country, along with new fees on pharmaceutical industry which officials say will help the state respond to the opioid crisis.
According to the State of Minnesota, the law will appropriate more than $2 million during 2020 and 2021. The money will go to the Dept. of Labor and Industry for a Wage Theft Prevention initiative, which will make wage theft a felony. It will also punish employers who retaliate against employees reporting such theft to the department.
Officials say penalties could include up to five years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
Wage theft is defined as when an employer fails to pay an employee all wages, salary, gratuities, earnings, or commissions at the employee’s rate or rates of pay or at the rate or rates required by law.
In addition, the new law will also provide funding for vocational services through grant funding, and direct appropriations to support people who may struggle to find or maintain employment, including those with severe disabilities or mental illness.
Another new law starting Monday includes the registration fees of $250,000 a year to any opiate manufacturer which annually sells, delivers, or distributes two million or more units within or into the state of Minnesota.
State officials say the law sets application and renewal fees for drug manufacturers of opiate-containing controlled substances at $55,000 and increases the fees for drug wholesalers, drug manufacturers and medical gas distributors from between $110 to $235 to $5,000.
According to the state, registration fees will end and the $55,000 renewal fees will be lowered once the state recovers at least $250 million from settlements with pharmaceutical companies after a minimum of five years.
Officials say any revenue from settlements will be marked specifically for opioid response efforts.
Other new laws include budget increases for agriculture and housing, funding for more prison officers, an investment of $543 million in E-12 education, and the designation of millions of dollars for Minnesota’s environment and natural resources.
You can find more in-depth information regarding the new laws below, or by clicking here on a mobile device.