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School bus

Steve Kohls, Associated Press - Ap

New Minnesota laws take effect this week

  • January 2, 2013 - 11:41 AM
The new year brings with it a host of new state laws taking effect this week. Here's a sampling, supplied by the House of Representatives public information service. The Legislature begins its new session Tuesday.

School buses

Minnesota is requiring school buses manufactured from now on to have right-side crossing-control arms to protect students.

The crossing arms must be attached to the right-front bumper and automatically extend when the bus is stopped and flashing red lights are used.

The new law also updates the state's school bus standards to reflect national specifications approved in 2010.

Another new state law on school buses that took effect in August dealt with camera placement, color requirements and auxiliary fans on buses.

Child care

Young parents who are finishing school will get a break from the state on days when their children must miss child care.

A new law allows the parents to exceed the current limit of 10 absent days for which a child-care provider can get compensated through the state's child-care assistance program.

The limit can be extended, under certain conditions, on request of the parent and with approval of their county. Otherwise, parents may risk losing the care for their children.

The law revises legislation passed in 2011 that lowered to 10 the number of absent days that were reimbursable.

Victim protection

Licensed health care providers can no longer use third parties to solicit business from car accident victims, unless they reveal their names and clinics.

Providers who fail to comply would run the risk of having their licenses revoked.

Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, a sponsor of the bill, said that the law applies to companies that use unethical practices to drum up business, such as promising specific payouts or using actors to portray law enforcement officials in ads.

Electronics warranties

Another new law regulates insurance to cover the loss or damage of portable electronic devices such as cellphones, laptop computers and tablets.

Extended warranties, which are typically sold to customers when they buy the product, now must be offered and sold separately and not as part of a package.

The law also requires sellers to tell the customers that the premium will be refunded on a prorated basis when the warranty is canceled. Those who sell warranties don't have to be licensed insurance agents, but they can be trained to sell insurance electronically.

KEVIN DUCHSCHERE

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