The following new laws either were passed during the 2008 Legislative session, which ended on May 19, 2008, or will be effective in the year 2008.
Use of Social Security Numbers.
- Effective July 1, 2008, Minn. Stat. § 325E.59, which regulates the use of social security numbers, requires that a person or entity, not including a government entity, may not do any of the following: (1) publicly post or publicly display in any manner an individual's social security number (to publicly post or display means to intentionally communicate or otherwise make something available to the general public); (2) print an individual's social security number on any card required for the individual to access products or services provided by the person or entity; (3) require an individual to transmit their social security number over the Internet, unless the connection is secure or the number is encrypted; (4) require an individual to use their social security number to access an Internet Web site, unless a password or unique personal identification number or other authentication device is also required to access the site; (5) print a number that the person or entity knows to be an individual's social security number on any materials that are mailed to the individual, unless state or federal law requires the social security number to be on the document to be mailed; (6) assign or use a number as the primary account identifier that is identical to or incorporates an individual's complete social security number; or (7) sell social security numbers obtained from individuals in the course of business.
- Notwithstanding the above provisions, social security numbers may be included in applications and forms sent by mail, including documents sent as part of an application or enrollment process, or to establish, amend, or terminate an account, contract, or policy, or to confirm the accuracy of the social security number.
- A person or entity, not including a government entity, must restrict access to individual social security numbers it holds so that only employees who require the numbers in order to perform their job duties have access to the numbers, except as required by Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act and by Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Section 483.20.
- This Section does not prevent the collection, use, or release of a social security number as required by state or federal law or the use of a social security number for internal verification or administrative purposes.
- This Section does not apply to documents that are recorded or required to be open to the public under Chapter 13 or by other law.
Minnesota Human Rights Act.
- Minn. Stat. § 363A.29, Subd. 4, was amended to raise the punitive damages cap from $8,500 to $25,000 effective August 1, 2008.
- Minn. Stat. § 543.19, Subd. 1, dealing with personal jurisdiction over foreign corporations and nonresident individuals, has been amended to delete from the exceptions where no jurisdiction shall be found in claims for defamation and privacy. Jurisdiction for defamation and privacy claims has therefore been added to this statute.
Background Checks for Coaches and Other School Personnel.
- Minn. Stat. § 123B.03 has been amended to require a school hiring authority to request a criminal background check on "all individuals except enrolled student volunteers who are offered the opportunity to provide athletic coaching services or other curricular services to a school regardless of whether any compensation is paid." School districts are also required to expand their background check of prospective teachers to include contacting the Board of Teaching to determine whether the Board has taken previous disciplinary action against the teacher arising out of sexual misconduct between a teacher and student, even if the misconduct may not have been illegal.
Public Sector Employee Changes.
- Minn. Stat. § 626.89, Subd. 9, has been clarified so that it is clear that a police officer who is the subject of an investigation may speak with an attorney, a union representative, or both, prior to making a formal statement. Prior to this change, the officer may have had to choose one or the other.
- Minn. Stat. § 179A.16, Subd. 7(a), dealing with arbitration reform for firefighters, has been repealed.
- Minn. Stat. § 299A.465, Subd. 1, makes some changes to the law dealing with disability pay qualifications for police and firefighters. It makes clear that beginning July 1, 2008, the Public Employees Retirement Association will deal with disabilities that occur within the line of duty.
- Minn. Stat. § 43A.187 requires a state employer to grant leave to an employee with 100 percent of pay to donate blood at a location away from work. The amount of leave may not exceed 3 hours in a 12-month period and the employee is required to provide 14-days' notice. The leave must not affect the employee's vacation leave or any other leave benefits. Employees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system are excluded.
- Minn. Stat. § 124D.13, Subd. 11, was amended to require a school board to employ licensed teachers for its early childhood family education program.
- Minn. Stat. § 471.88 was amended to add a subdivision creating an exemption to the conflict of interest rules to permit a school board to contract with "a class of school district employees such as teachers or custodians where the spouse or the school board member is a member of the class of employees contracting with the school board."
Other Statutory Changes.
- Minn. Stat. § 62L.05 was amended to add a subdivision requiring health insurers selling small employer group coverage to provide information to small employers about the availability of flexible benefit plans.
- Minn. Stat. § 181.9453 permits a private employer to grant paid leave from work for an employee to donate blood.
- Minn. Stat. § 192.325 prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against any employee "because of the membership of that employee's spouse, parent, or child in the military forces of the United States, of this state, or any other state"; in addition, an employer may not "discharge from employment, take adverse employment action against, or otherwise hinder an employee from attending the following kinds of events relating to the military service of the employee's spouse, parent, or child and to which the employee is invited or otherwise called upon to attend by proper military authorities: (i) departure or return ceremonies for deploying or returning military personnel or units; (ii) family training or readiness events sponsored or conducted by the military; and (iii) events held as part of official military reintegration programs." This statute requires the employee to provide reasonable notice and for the employer to provide a reasonable amount of unpaid time off, not to exceed two consecutive days or six days total in a calendar year. The employer may not require the employee to use accrued but unused vacation for these events. This law is effective August 1, 2008.
- Minn. Stat. § 268 has been modified to provide additional insurance benefits of up to thirteen weeks in counties with high unemployment.