Column from Sen. Westrom: August 1 Laws 26 Jul 13
Dear Friends,

The Minnesota Legislature adjourned May 20th and passed a wide variety
of new laws that will go into effect this year. The following is a
list of highlighted new laws that will be in effect August 1st.

A new law pushed by the DFL leadership this session will change the
term “marriage” in state law to “civil marriage” and expand the
definition of who is eligible from “a man and a woman” to “two
persons.” Current Minnesota law defines marriage traditionally between
“one man and one woman.” I have long supported this law and affirm
traditional marriage and families as the best design for raising
children. The new law requires gender-neutral terms, and husband,
wife, mother, father, widow, widower, and other similar terms will no
longer refer to any particular gender. Also, Minnesota’s Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA) is removed, which was enacted in this state in
1997.

All Childcare Providers should be able to provide quality, affordable
services to parents without government interference; however,
legislation was passed that may force daycare providers who accept
state C-CAP (daycare subsidy) funds to join the union. Starting August
1, 2013, any employee union wishing to represent child care providers
may seek exclusive representation. Representation elections for
providers must be conducted once a union demonstrates that at least
30% of providers have petitioned for an election. If the union is
successful, many childcare providers who do not want to be unionized
or can’t afford it will be forced to reject C-CAP children. In turn,
this will create fewer quality childcare providers who will be able to
accept children of hardworking, low income parents.

Under the omnibus game and fish bill passed this session, seriously
ill individuals will be given a one-time allowance to purchase hunting
licenses that are otherwise limited by a lottery drawing — including
wild turkey, deer, bear, prairie chicken and wolf. In addition,
veterans with a 100% permanently disabled status will receive a free
permanent card that allows them to easily obtain a hunting license for
deer or small game.

Spear fishing is expanded to 12 additional lakes, primarily in
northern Minnesota. Lakes now open to spear fishing include Big
Mantrap (Hubbard County), Lobster (Douglas), Beers and West Battle
(Otter Tail), Cross (Pine), Sugar (Wright), Eagle (Hennepin), Owasso
(Ramsey), and Deer, North Star, Moose and Spider Lakes (Itasca).

An 11-mile stretch of Trunk Highway 23 from Wakefield Township to
Richmond in Stearns County is to be renamed in memory of a Minnesota
Cold Spring police officer killed in the line of duty: Officer Tom
Decker Memorial Highway. On Nov. 29, 2012, Officer Decker was shot and
killed while responding to a call in downtown Cold Spring.

Here is a link to a list of additional laws that will go in effect
August 1st: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/leginfo/0813nlrelease.pdf.

It is an honor to serve you as your State Senator. Please do not
hesitate to contact me with any legislative comments, questions, or
concerns.
Warm regards,
Senator Torrey Westrom
District 12
107 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-3826
(855) 407-7386