New laws take effect Jan. 1

Published 10:19 am Friday, December 26, 2008

After Jan. 1, don’t forget to post your refrigerants, be extra cautious about denying aviation liability insurance and make sure public pools have unblockable suction drains.

The following is a listing of selected new laws passed during the 2008 legislative session that take effect Jan. 1. Summaries of all laws passed by the 2008 Legislature are available online from House Public Information Services at

Pool safety

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regulations now enforceable

A new law relating to pool drains was enacted after a 6-year-old Edina girl died because of severe injuries she sustained from sitting on a pool drain.

Beginning Jan. 1, all public pool construction plans must be reviewed by a certified state-registered engineer.

Additionally, public pools less than 4-feet deep are required to have an unblockable suction outlet or drain; at least two suction outlets, connected in parallel with suction outlet covers that meet certain standards; or a gravity outlet or drain.

The law is sponsored by Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina.

Refrigerant postings required

Information will be more readily available about the effect a new vehicle’s air conditioner refrigerant could have on global warming.

A manufacturer selling a new motor vehicle containing a mobile air conditioner that uses the high-GWP greenhouse gas HFC-134a as a refrigerant must report, 90 days prior to initial sale or offer for sale, the annual leakage rate of the refrigerant used in that vehicle make and model. These leakage rates must be posted on the Web sites of the Office of the Attorney General and the Pollution Control Agency with the following statement: “Vehicle air conditioning systems may leak refrigerants. Information provided in the chart compares the potential global warming effects of refrigerant leakage from different makes and models of vehicles.”

The provision is part of the omnibus energy law sponsored by Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson, and Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth.

Contract for deed limit increases

A new law increases the threshold from $100,000 to $300,000 for contracts for deed that are subject to certain interest rate limits in state law.

Under this type of purchase transaction, the homebuyer gets the deed to the property only after the loan is paid.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Linda Scheid, DFL-Brooklyn Park, the law also provides penalties and remedies for a mortgage broker’s failure to comply with state regulations.

Aviation insurance

A 2003 plane crash in northern Minnesota led to a chain of events resulting in a new law addressing aviation liability insurance.

The new law, sponsored by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, and Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, states that for an aviation insurance company to deny a claim, the pilot’s actions or inaction must have a direct effect on the loss.

At the end of the 2007 session, a working group was established to review the aviation insurance industry and third-party issues. The law is a result of the group’s deliberations. The law applies to policies issued, renewed or continued on or after Jan. 1.

Sharing the road with commercial vehicles

Standard driver’s education and commercial driver’s training courses must include instruction on sharing the road with commercial motor vehicles.

As part of the omnibus transportation and transit policy law, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, classroom and behind-the-wheel training must include information on proper distances for following trucks, the distance needed for a truck to stop, identification of truck blind spots and how to avoid driving in the blind spot area.