New Laws Take Effect Aug. 1 — Will They Affect You?


New laws range from ticket scalping to pumping gas.

Wednesday marks the date many new laws passed by the Minnesota Legislature and signed into law during the 2007 session will take effect. Here are a few that could affect you:

If you receive or purchase a gift card from a retailer, by law it cannot have an expiration date or service fees. Some companies have charged monthly fees subtracting from the balance on a gift card. That practice is illegal come Wednesday.

If you bought too many Prince tickets (or you forgot to buy one), you can take to the streets to buy or sell them. Charging more for event tickets is illegal until tomorrow, when scalping becomes legal.

It’s February, you’re pumping gas, and you’re freezing, but don’t think about leaving the nozzle unattended. As of Wednesday, if you leave the nozzle unattended, you are breaking the law. The penalty for violating the law? There isn’t one, but the fuel station can deny selling you gas in the future.

For campers, it is already illegal to bring unapproved firewood into a government-owned property. On Wednesday, selling or distributing firewood across state lines or more than 100 miles from its original location will require detailed documentation.

If you own a campground, as of Wednesday you can use a hose connection backflow preventer and vacuum breaker instead of the traditional dual check valve device. If you are a campground owner, you probably also have some idea of what that means.

Looking for a loan? The process will become more transparent Wednesday. Lenders must verify your ability to repay the loan, and several lending tactics such as “churning” and “negative amortization loans” become illegal.

Parents can rest assured that as of Wednesday their children cannot get a body piercing without parental consent (except for earlobes). If a vendor violates the law, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. Tanning and tattoos already require parental consent.

As of Wednesday, hospitals in Minnesota must have emergency contraception information available and stock emergency contraception medication, and provide the medication to victims of sexual assault if the patient and/or doctor deem appropriate.

Others laws
If you are Dave Arnold, you have your own law. Arnold’s application for the wind energy production incentive got lost in the mail in March 2005, so the legislature passed and Gov. Pawlenty signed a law to extend the application process for two months but only for anyone who filed their application prior to March 1, 2005.

Heading to the Minnesota State Fair and looking to get drunk? A new law will allow vendors to sell full strength beer, as opposed to 3.2 percent beer as long as “at least one Minnesota brewed malt liquor is made available for sale at each allowed location within the grounds.”

A full list of new laws for 2007 can be found at the Minnesota State Legislature website.