Several laws passed in the 2024 legislative session took effect Monday, establishing new policies and funding sources for education, economic development and the environment.

New fee for retail deliveries

A 50-cent delivery fee passed last year will now be applied to purchases at or over $100 of clothing or personal property subject to a sales tax. The resulting revenue will be allocated across the state for road improvements through a new transportation advancement account.

The $100 threshold for the fee includes all parts of the sale, including shipping charges and other taxes.

Drugs, medical devices, food, utilities like gas and electricity, and certain baby products are not included. Retailers with less than $1,000,000 of retail sales the previous year, and marketplace providers with less than $100,000 of retail sales don't have to pay the fee.

House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, released a statement Monday protesting the fee.

"Minnesotans will be paying more for their deliveries thanks to Democrats' new junk delivery fee," Demuth said. "Minnesota families are already struggling with inflation, and are being hit even harder by the $10 billion in tax and fee increases Democrats passed over the last two years."

Deepfake technology

A 2023 law criminalizing the use of deepfakes – videos, pictures or audio made with artificial intelligence to appear real — to sway an election has now been updated. Now, if found guilty of using deepfake technology to injure a candidate and influence an election, the law states a candidate must forfeit the nomination or office. The restriction now applies 90 days before a political party nominating convention, or after the absentee voting period has begun prior to a presidential primary, state primary, local primary or special election.

Education policy changes

Indigenous ceremonies, cultural practices and observances will be added to the list of excused religious absences in the next school year. Over the summer break, school districts must also adopt a language access plan with specific procedures on assistance to students and adults speaking a language other than English. Student journalists are now set to receive more free speech protections in school-sponsored media, and school districts must adopt a formal policy for student journalism.

High school coaches whose contracts will not be renewed must now receive written notice from the school board no more than 60 days after the end of a regular season, unless due to coach misconduct or district financial limitations.

Parents may now be permitted access to their student's individual performance data and achievement report when made available to the school or district, and schools are required to conduct an annual review of a student's learning plan to ensure they're on track for graduation.

Literacy funding increases

Starting today, Minnesota education receives a $43 million funding boost, primarily focusing on improving literacy through additions to the Minnesota Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act.

The $37 million directed to the READ Act provides compensation for teachers participating in various literacy training initiatives. The funds also assist a "culturally responsive" literacy curriculum and create a Deaf and hard of hearing working group on literacy. Uses of literacy incentive aid are expanding to include hiring literacy intervention specialists and screeners.

"The READ Act 2.0 continues the really important investments that we made last year," Sen. Erin Maye Quade, DFL-Apple Valley, said. "I am so excited about the partnership that we've had with all the stakeholders to make sure it gets off the ground."

Additional education appropriations support various agencies related to children and families, including $9.66 million for technology improvements to social services case management, $3.39 million in emergency services grants and $1 million to the American Indian food sovereignty funding program.

The number of voluntary prekindergarten seats is expanding by 5,200, bringing the total to 12,360 across the state. This expansion is possible through the use of $50 million set aside in 2023.

A new North Star Promise program will be available to eligible college students this fall, creating a path for tuition and fee-free education at Minnesota public institutions and tribal colleges. It will impact an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 students in its first academic year. A new Fostering Independence grant program aims to support Minnesota students who were in the foster care system, covering the cost of attendance at Minnesota public institutions and participating private colleges.

Jobs money

Job training and economic development programs are now set to receive an extra $23.85 million in fiscal year 2025. Included in the funding is $4.5 million for various programs supporting entrepreneurs and startups across the state.

The law also grants $1 million to the city of Brooklyn Park to develop a biotech innovation district, $1 million to African Immigrants Community Services, $1 million to Change Starts with Community for a violence prevention program, and $1 million to the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce for technical support to Black-owned small businesses.

Minnesota tourism is also receiving a boost for the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games and infrastructure costs for Taste of Minnesota.

Environmental research and projects

Nearly $80 million generated by the state lottery will cover more than 100 projects aimed at protecting the environment in fiscal year 2025. $20.3 million will go toward new land acquisition projects to develop state trails and local parks. The funding will also go toward projects on microplastics, flood and drought modeling, air quality, climate change and invasive species.

$553 million in grant funding allocated in 2023-2024 is now available for projects that protect clean water sources, protect and restore the environment, enhance parks and trails, and preserve community heritage.

For a comprehensive list of law changes taking effect, visit the House of Representatives website.