New Minnesota laws starting July 1 that could affect you

During the second legislative session with Democrats holding a trifecta of power for the first time in a decade – controlling the House of Representatives, Senate and Governor – several new laws were passed that are due to take effect July 1.

Last session, a wide-range of new proposals ultimately gained approval by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, and were signed into law – including limitations on no-knock search warrants, free school meals for students, and increased education funding.

Here is a list of some new laws going into effect in Minnesota on July 1, 2024. 

Right to repair electronic devices

Hoping to increase consumer's and independent repair shop's ability to repair electronics similar to the universality of the auto industry, the Digital Fair Repair Act applies to any electronic device sold or in use after Jan. 1, 2024, and requires "original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to make tools, parts, and documentation to diagnose, maintain, and repair digital electronic equipment to be made available to independent repair providers and owners." It also requires that tools, parts, and documentation be offered on fair and reasonable terms.

Limitations within the legislation provide that an OEM isn’t required to release trade secret information to independent repair providers or owners, except as necessary to provide documentation, tools and parts for repairs.

It also doesn’t require an OEM to make available parts, tools, and documentation for the purposes of modifying digital electronic equipment.

Manufacturers or distributors of medical devices or digital electronic products or software for use in a medical setting would also be exempt.

A company violating the act would be deemed engaging in unlawful practice, and subject to enforcement by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Non-compete clauses prohibited

Hoping to restrict organizations such as Homeowners Associations (HOAs) from favoring certain service providers, while stifling competition in the free market, the use of "restrictive employment covenants" will now be prohibited in Minnesota.

An organization previously enforcing a non-compete clause will be required to give notice to employees about the new law if their contracts contain a restrictive provision, and previously held covenants will be void and unenforceable.

Service providers are defined as "any partnership, association, corporation, business, trust, or group of persons acting directly or indirectly as an employer or manager for work contracted or requested by a customer".

Packaging waste reduction fees

The Packaging Waste and Cost Reduction Act is a statewide program that will extend to product producers. Minnesota lawmakers have estimated that 40% of waste comes from packaging.

By shifting more responsibility to producers, the law aims to encourage waste reduction through "redesign, reuse, recycling and composting."

Producers will now be assessed an annual fee on a per unit basis to reimburse local waste management providers for their costs.

Reimbursement would be phased in starting at 50% by 2029, 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2031.

Clean water for contaminated wells

For households in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties, $2.8 million will be spent to provide nitrate home water treatment, including reverse osmosis systems.

Priority will be given to homeowners with wells that have been contaminated, potentially due to recent flooding, and to households at or below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. Exceptions will also be made for those with infants or pregnant people.

‘Plain language’ driver’s license exams

Hoping to ensure a written driver’s license exam test focuses on how well applicants understand the rules of the road, rather than their ability to read the material, the new law hopes to rewrite the exams in a simpler context.

The law directs the Department of Public Safety to create "plain language standards" and a new written test. As much as possible, the test must be "organized to serve the reader's needs and written using clear, simplified language."

The new tests will aim to minimize abbreviations, avoid long or complex sentences, omit double negatives and use "familiar words," among other provisions.

A report will be due the Legislature by Feb. 1, 2026.

Social media protections coming in 2025

In an era of self-proclaimed "influencers" on social media, Minnesota lawmakers have sought to protect children from those creating content with them in it.

Looking ahead to July 1, 2025, a child under the age of 14 will be prohibited from working in content creation – placing a limit on appearing in no more than 30% of creators' videos. When they do appear, they will be entitled to 100% of the profits for doing so.

A trust account and payment for the content created using the minor’s likeness will be required and the trust must be maintained until the minor reaches the age of 18.

The law specifies that minors aged 14 to 18 can still produce their own content, and are entitled to the profits.

Known as the Prohibiting Social Media Manipulation Act, Minnesota lawmakers also passed a proposal that will allow users to more specifically determine their security settings, give users input on the algorithm generating content they want to see, require companies to post more information about how their algorithms operate and set limits for new account holders (restricting "burner accounts").

Each requirement will become effective July 1, 2025.