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Four Minnesota laws that start Jan. 1

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I-94 traffic
Starting Jan. 1, a teen will need to log more practice time behind the wheel to get that driver's license.
MPR News file

New year, new laws. 

Many of the laws passed during the 2014 Minnesota legislative session take effect Jan. 1. Here's a look at some of the more interesting changes.

  

1. More time behind the wheel for teens

Teens will be required to have at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training, up from 30 currently, and complete a supervised driving log before they can take the road test. Within those total practice hours, 15 must be driven at night, up from 10 currently.

The law also encourages parents to take a class to learn more about teen driving risks and the role families can play in influencing safe behavior.

If a parent or guardian completes the 90-minute class, the minimum number of practice hours drops to 40. 

Inexperience is often a factor in crashes involving teens, who are involved in more than 16 crashes a day in Minnesota, the Department of Public Safety says.

2. Female veterans license plates

New Minnesota veteran's license plate
A new Minnesota license plate highlights the service and role of female veterans.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

The state's 29,000 female vets can now have license plates bearing the inscription,"Woman Veteran." They'll pay the same $10 fee charged for other specialized plates. 

3.  Better trained lifeguards at public beaches

Under "Tony Caine's Law," public beaches that provide lifeguards must ensure the lifeguards are certified through the American Red Cross or a similar program and that they are certified in first aid and CPR for adults and children.

The new law, named for a 6-year-old boy who drowned at a Minneapolis beach in 2012, does not require lifeguards at public beaches. 

4. Expungements and second chances

This new law may make it easier for reformed offenders to find work or a place to live. It lets Minnesota judges permanently seal the criminal records of reformed offenders.

Judges were already allowed to expunge court records, but not records collected by state agencies — information frequently surfaces in background checks for jobs and housing. The law extends expungement eligibility in several circumstances.

See the full list