New Laws Go Into Effect Today

Posted at: 07/01/2013 5:38 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- On most financial calendars the fiscal years begins on July 1st. For that reason so do a number of new state laws.

The new laws in Minnesota range from tax hikes, to additional dollars for education, to laws that aim to save lives.

The new taxes include a tax on online retailers of music and video downloads, a tax on the top 2 percent wage earners, and a tax increase on cigarettes.

While the cigarette tax increase had some stocking up, others believe the tax will encourage people to quit.

"I know it's harsh on people who can't afford the extra tax, but I think in the long term it's beneficial for them," said Bill Wincett.

As of Monday a pack of cigarettes will cost $1.60 extra.

"It doesn't bother me, I roll my own," said smoker Kurt Miller

While Kurt Millers won't see the tax increase, as a fellow smoker he can imagine the effect it could have.

"I wouldn't be too happy about it, I'd probably think of quitting," said Miller.

There are several additional laws passed this year that fall in the category of health and safety. Including one that protects underage drinkers that find themselves in an emergency situation.

"It's going to exempt the person who is underage drinking that makes the call and it exempts the person who is injured and sick," said Sgt. Jon Turk.

Sgt. Turk of the Rochester Police Department believes the legislation could save lives.

"If somebody is in need of medical attention we don't want somebody to lose their life over a concern that they might get an underage consumption ticket, so they are not second guessing whether they should make the call” said Sgt. Turk.

There is another new law that is hoping discourage one group from calling 9-1-1. It will place harsher penalties for fake calls.

"We don't allow those types of calls and that we can prosecute them, perhaps that will slow them from making the calls," said RPD Communications Director Gary Mulleneaux.

The new laws also include one measure to keep new home owners safe. There's a new requirement for home sellers to disclose radon gas testing.

"That's a big safety concern and health issue and I think just like we have to disclose other things when we sell, I think that should be the same," said Wincett.

There is of course many more new laws across the country and in Minnesota that take affect July 1st.
In Iowa those laws include wide ranging tax cuts and a law where the governor will now have to personally approve Medicaid dollars for abortions.