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New laws will take effect Saturday

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A number of new Minnesota laws -- from marriage applications to paying subcontractors building homes -- take effect Saturday.

One new law affects how couples may apply for marriage licenses.

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"Couples will now need to come together to apply for the marriage license, instead of just one as has been the case in the past," says Beltrami County Auditor-Treasurer Kay Mack.

"If both the man and woman are not able to apply in person, a form is available that must be completed by the absent party and supplied at the time of application," Mack said.

The absent party must verify the accuracy of the application in a notarized statement, with the marriage license not being released until the verification statement has been received by the local registrar, according to the new law authored by Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, and Sen. Dick Betzold, DFL-Fridley.

"Both will have to provide their Social Security number," Mack added. "Any marriage license application that does not have a Social Security number will have to sign an affidavit certifying as such. The law also clarifies that a Minnesota marriage license can be used only within the geographic boundaries of Minnesota and that any wedding that will take place in the state of Minnesota must have been issued a license from Minnesota."

The law also specifies that a person under 21 can get married in Minnesota, but someone under that age will no longer be able to perform the ceremony.

Premarital education gets a couple a discount on their license fee, with the law requiring that proof of the class must be notarized. Currently a handwritten note or an e-mail is sufficient for the reduced rate.

Among other changes, a consent form must be signed by parents if a minor is being married.

Applications and information about marriage licenses can be found on the Beltrami County Web site at www.co.beltrami.mn.us or calling the Beltrami County License Center at 333-4148.

Another new law, authored by Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, taking effect Saturday will make sure subcontractors and suppliers working on residential jobs are paid in a timely manner.

The new law provides residential subcontractors and suppliers with the same protection already in place for those working for commercial contractors, Howes says.

"Prime contractors or subcontractors who hire other subcontractors or suppliers must pay those they hire within 10 days from the date payment is requested," Howes said. "The law also stipulates interest to be paid on late payments."

Another new law corrects the misclassification of some workers in the trucking and courier industry as independent contractors rather than employees, he said. The law lays out factors all needing to be present for a worker to be considered an independent contractor, including when the individual:

- Owns the equipment or holds it under a bona fide lease arrangement.

- Is responsible for the equipment's maintenance and operating costs.

- Is paid based on work performed, not time expended.

- Substantially controls the means and manner of the service performance.

- Enters into a written contract specifying that the relationship is one of an independent contractor and not that of an employee.

Other new laws that Howes outlined in an e-mail to constituents include:

- All-terrain vehicle drivers are subject to new penalties designed to protect wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. Violations are a gross misdemeanor and may result in license suspension and/or the seizure of the vehicle upon a second offense.

- Off-highway motorcycle riders under age 16 were required to ride alongside another rider age 18 or older, which prevented them from legally participating in track-style events. The law is revised so that they may now ride while under adult supervision.

- Several changes are made regarding state parks. Visitors will be able to request multiple vehicle permits beyond the two previously allowed; vehicles carrying students on school-sanctioned trips will not be charged state park entry fees; and a permit will no longer be required to enter John A. Latsch State Park or Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area.

- The minimum age of a resident is lowered from 18 to 16 who may fish free during "Take a Kid Fishing Weekend" when accompanied by a child under age 16.

- Anyone may fish from shore in water that is wholly contained within a state park, except in waters that require a trout stamp.

- Residents discharged from active federal military service during the preceding two years may obtain a free license to hunt deer of either sex.

- Spearing of fish is added to the list of available lifetime licenses, with exceptions.

- A non-resident license may be issued to spear fish from a dark house.

- Veterinary students can look forward to a new large animal veterinary loan forgiveness program that will focus on helping veterinarians who operate full-time practices in "underserved" rural areas and work mostly with food animals. The law includes $225,000 for the program.

- The first Sunday in October is designated Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day. On that day, each U.S. and Minnesota flag on the Capitol grounds will be flown at half-staff. According to the Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Association, there have been 197 line-of-duty firefighter deaths in Minnesota, with the first being recorded in 1881 in Minneapolis, and the most recent in 2008 in Pine City.

- Drivers are allowed to exceed the speed limit by 10 mph when passing another vehicle going the same direction on a two-lane highway with a speed limit of at least 55 mph. This provision is part of a new law making failure to wear a seatbelt a primary offense.

- A customer will not be liable for charges resulting from unauthorized use of their cell phone if the wireless provider has been notified that the phone is lost or stolen. The customer will have to agree, however, to suspend use of the wireless device.

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