It's July 1 and that means Minnesota has new laws you might want to know about so you don't get busted breaking them.
We probably should have told you about all of these things yesterday so you could fully appreciate life before the new laws, but reminiscing about the "old days" is so much more fun. Remember when you didn't have to move over for emergency boats while out on the water? Those were the days.
We've collected a list of things you could have done yesterday, but today you would be breaking the law.
Let your 7-year-old ride booster-free in the car
Being a school-age kid under 8 just officially got a little less cool. But at least life is safer. Children under the age of 8 or under 4 feet 9 inches tall must now be in car seats or booster seats when riding in a vehicle.
Save some cents on all of your purchases
The state's sales tax just increased today three-eighths of one percent to 6.875 percent. The increase comes from the voter-approved Clean Land, Water And Legacy Amendment.
Ignore law enforcement watercraft with emergency lights
Minnesota boaters are now required to follow a "move-over" law out on the state's lakes and rivers. If a law enforcement watercraft approaches with their lights on, you must move away safely and maintain a slow, no-wake speed when you are within 150 feet of officers. The law is similar to the road "move-over" law that protects officers in vehicles during emergency stops. Disappear under dangerous circumstances and not have the cops looking for you Minnesota's missing children law now includes adults who disappear under dangerous circumstances. The law requires police to accept missing persons reports with no delay regardless of the person's age. If the person disappeared under suspicious conditions, they must determine if they are in danger and notify other law enforcement agencies.
Fish illegally in Minnesota state parks without a license
Yesterday it was illegal to fish in Minnesota state parks without an annual fishing license. Now anyone can fish in the state parks with no license required. A license is still required in water where a trout stamp is required. The fishing license used to cost $17 a year, but DNR officials hope the free fishing will get more newbies out in the parks. Check out other hunting/fishing laws that changed here.
Get a $50 tax refund for your political contribution
As part of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment process to balance the budget, he eliminated a state program that allowed residents to receive up to a $50 tax refund if they donated to a political party of candidate for state office. The program was in place since 1990 and helped encourage Minnesotans to give money to support smaller campaigns.
Whine about paying all of your paycheck to student loan repayment
The new Income-Based Repayment program starts today to help relieve some of the burden of paying off federal student loans. The program is based on the borrower's income and will keep loan payments under 10 percent of their income. This will allow borrowers to take longer than 10 years to pay off their loans and would forgive any loans and interest accrued after 25 years. Some public service jobs allow graduates to have their loans forgiven after 10 years. This doesn't include private loans.