Budget wrangles—including significant cuts to funding for the courts, public defenders, and legal assistance to the disadvantaged—dominated the recent session as legislators and the governor struggled to address a record deficit. MSBA worked actively to support funding for the legal system, to oppose a sales tax on legal services, and to support the Quie Commission recommendations regarding judicial selection while seeking support for MSBA sections’ legislative agenda and monitoring bills of particular interest to lawyers.
The 2009 Minnesota Legislature convened on January 6, with legislative leaders pledging to work toward a bipartisan solution for a record $4.6 billion general fund deficit. The deficit projected in the November 2008 forecast was $4.8 billion, and as the economy spiraled downwards, by March the shortfall reached a massive $6.4 billion. Although the federal stimulus package boosted Minnesota’s new budget forecast, the state’s economic condition remained approximately $4.6 billion short for FY 2010-2011.
As the legislative session progressed, the governor, the House and the Senate released their respective budget proposals. The Senate plan was to cut spending by 7 percent across all budget areas. The plan cut $2.4 billion in spending, while relying on $2 billion in unspecified new revenue from a $2.2 billion tax bill authored by Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), Senate Tax Committee chair.
After the Senate DFL leaders called for 7 percent across-the-board cuts, Gov. Tim Pawlenty revised his original budget proposal to include an approximate 4 percent reduction in general fund expenditures. The plan would have cut $1.3 billion in general spending, borrowed $1 billion through the sale of long-term bonds, and temporarily shifted $1.3 billion by delaying state payments to schools. He also tapped the state’s Health Care Access Fund for $700 million and included $800 million in federal stimulus funds.
DFLers in both the House and Senate attacked Pawlenty’s revised budget for increasing education spending while making cuts in public health care spending. House Democrats, in response to the governor’s revised budget, released their own budget which included raising taxes by $1.5 billion over the next two years, including tax increases on alcohol, credit card companies that charge high interest rates, and couples earning more than $250,000 annually; spending cuts of $843 million; and a larger accounting shift for school funding than the governor proposed in an attempt to avoid future borrowing.
Although the governor made it very clear over the course of the session that he would not support any tax increases on Minnesotans due to the already poor economic climate in the state, House and Senate tax conferees agreed to a hurriedly-put-together tax plan that would have raised $1 billion over two years and dedicated the money to hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. True to his word, the governor vetoed the bill only minutes after it passed off the House and Senate floors. The House made a failed attempt to override the governor’s veto.
Four days before the constitutionally mandated adjournment deadline of May 18, Gov. Pawlenty announced that he would utilize his executive powers to line-item veto appropriations in each of the budget bills presented to him, and use unallottment to balance Minnesota’s deficit. To drive home his point, the governor stated that there would be no government shutdown or special legislative session if the legislature failed to present a balanced budget without tax increases.
The Minnesota Legislature adjourned on Monday, May 18, at midnight following an eleventh-hour push to pass a $2.7 billion tax bill that would wipe out the state’s deficit through a tax increase on the wealthy, liquor, and credit card companies, and a shift in school funding. The bill mirrored an earlier version vetoed by the governor. Although the legislature was able to pass a tax bill, the governor promptly vetoed it as promised.
On June 16, the governor announced his plan to unallot $2.68 billion beginning July 1 to balance the state budget. Human services and local government took the brunt of the cuts. Not surprisingly, House and Senate DFL leadership quickly attacked the plan and demanded specifics on the proposed cuts and questioned the governor’s authority to take such unilateral action.
The unallottment process began July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year. Pawlenty said his budget for the next two years would likely come in slightly above $31 billion, compared with the current projected budget of $34 billion.
Prior to unveiling his unallottment plan, Gov. Pawlenty announced he would not run for a third term in 2010. Although he declined to discuss it, he is often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate for 2012. Gov. Pawlenty’s departure leaves the field for the 2010 Minnesota gubernatorial election wide open. Multiple DFL candidates have already registered with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, including lawyer-legislator Rep. Paul Thissen (DFL-Richfield), Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, former state senator and attorney Steve Kelley, and former state representative Matt Entenza. On the Republican side, lawyer-legislator representatives Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) and Tom Emmer (R-Delano) have filed.
The legislature reconvenes on February 4, 2010 for the second year of the biennium with the
state budget likely to remain the number one issue. For the MSBA, court funding and judicial selection will be at the top of its legislative agenda.
MSBA Legislative Agenda
The Minnesota State Bar Association’s number one issue for the 2009 legislative session was supporting adequate funding for the Minnesota judicial system, which encompasses the courts, legal and pro bono programs, and the public defender system. To that end, the MSBA created the “1000 Supporters Network,” a collection of more than 1,000 attorneys, to voice the legal community’s support for adequate court funding.
In addition, the MSBA joined the Coalition to Preserve the Justice System sponsored by the courts to coordinate efforts among the justice system partners and allies to advocate for sufficient justice system funding. The Coalition met with legislative leadership and other legislators to discuss the “already overloaded justice system … and the impact of additional budget reductions on the justice systems and the communities [they] serve.”
Early in the year, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson stated at a press conference that the integrity of Minnesota’s court system would be greatly diminished without a funding increase. Chief Justice Magnuson was backed by a coalition of law enforcement officials that included county attorneys, sheriffs, public defenders, and chiefs of police.
After extensive hearings and debate regarding alternative funding proposals, the legislature passed a funding package in the Omnibus Public Safety Finance bill, Chapter 83 (HF 1657/SF 1802), that minimized cuts to the judicial system by increasing fees. Specifically, the legislation imposed the following increases in fees and surcharges:
Amount of Increase
|Civil Filing Fee||$210 to $310|
|Dissolution Filing Fee||$270 to $340|
|Conciliation Court Filing Fee||$50 to $65|
|Appellate Court Filing Fee||$500 to $550|
|Jury Trial Request||$75 to $100|
|Certified Copies||$10 to $14|
|Uncertified Copies||$5 to $8|
|Subpoenas||$12 to $16|
|Motion Fee||$55 to $100|
|Issuance of executions and writs||$40 to $55|
|Issuance or filing of transcript judgment||$30 to $40|
|Annual Trust Account filings||$40 to $55|
|Deposit of a will||$20 to $27|
|Child Support motions||$55 to $100|
|Parking Surcharge||$4 to $12|
|Public Defender Co-Pay||$28 to $75|
Chapter 83 also authorizes the Minnesota Supreme Court to assess a public defender fee of not more than $75 on each licensed attorney.
As a result of these increases, the final budget cuts were limited:
- 1.3% biennial budget reduction for supreme court.
- .8% biennial budget reduction for court of appeals.
- .8% biennial budget reduction for district court.
- 3% biennial budget reduction for board of public defense. This reduction can be offset if the supreme court agrees to raise the attorney registration fee up to $75 and place the proceeds in a special revenue account for public defender services.
- .8% biennial budget reduction for civil legal services.
Sales Tax on Legal Services
In 2008, Gov. Pawlenty created the 21st Century Tax Reform Commission (“commission”). In a report issued February 13, 2009, the commission recommended that Minnesota’s corporate tax be reduced and the loss of revenue offset by increasing cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and expanding the sales tax to more consumer goods and services. Specifically, the commission recommended: (1) repealing the corporate income tax; (2) exempting 20 percent of the earnings of small businesses from income taxes; (3) conforming state and federal tax write-off provisions for business-related assets; and (4) granting an upfront sales tax exemption for capital equipment. Gov. Pawlenty supported the report’s recommendation to cut business taxes, but rejected the proposal to expand the sales tax base. While some legislative leaders called the proposal “interesting,” others questioned shifting the tax burden from businesses to consumers.
Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington), chair of the House Tax Committee, responded to the report by introducing H.F. 2263 which included the 21st Century Tax Commission recommendation. Rep. Lenczewski interpreted the commission’s recommendation to broaden the sales tax base to include a sales tax on legal services. After extensive hearings, the final House tax bill included a litany of tax changes including elimination of multiple deductions and new “sin” taxes on alcohol and tobacco. However, the bill did not include a sales tax on legal services.
In the Senate, Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) introduced a separate tax reform policy bill, S.F. 1274, which included a sales tax on legal and accounting services. While the bill received a hearing, it did not advance out of committee.
MSBA President Mike Ford and President-elect Leo Brisbois spent countless hours meeting with legislators, attending hearings, and testifying before committees to voice the MSBA’s opposition to a sales tax. MSBA officers Aaron Biber and Terry Votel also took their turn at the Capitol to support the MSBA position.
The MSBA agenda also included the MSBA’s continuing support of the Quie Commission recommendations on judicial selection. Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), author of the legislation last year, introduced the bill this year as S.F. 70. Senate File 70 proposes a constitutional amendment to establish retention elections for judges and creates a judicial performance commission for evaluating judges. The Senate bill passed both the Senate Judiciary and State and Local Government committees, but was not voted on by the full Senate.
Lawyer-legislator Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-St. Louis Park), last year’s House author, introduced the companion, H.F. 224. However, the House bill did not receive a hearing.
Since the session adjourned, the United States Supreme Court decided the case in Caperton et al. v. Massey, which set forth a three-part test for determining judicial bias warranting recusal in cases where a judge/justice has received campaign contributions. Independently, the Minnesota Supreme Court has adopted limits on contributions to judicial campaigns.
However, there is still a question of whether the campaign contribution limit will be upheld if challenged. As a result, there is likely to be vigorous debate on whether the recusal of judges/justices underCaperton will be significant enough to limit or undermine retention election legislation.
Chapter No. 30 (HF 332/SF 261): Real Property Section Bill
The MSBA Real Property Section proposed the various statutory changes which became Chapter 30. Article 1 provides clarifying, technical, and conforming changes to the transfer-on-death-deeds legislation passed last year; Article 2 expands common element certificates of title to include planned communities; and Article 3 includes several other changes which exempt certain transfers from filing requirements for certificates of real estate value; establish a procedure for cartways in cities; and eliminate the need for affidavits of attorney-in-fact by corporate agents in real property transactions.
The provisions governing transfer-on-death deeds are effective retroactively from August 1, 2008, and apply to instruments recorded on or after August 1, 2008, and to claims, disputes, and other matters arising from or relating to such instruments, provided however that no deed or other voluntary instrument executed prior to the amendment may be refused recording on or after August 1, 2008 for failure to comply with the requirements of Minnesota statutes if the deed or other voluntary instrument complies with either the former statute or the amended statute.
The common element certificate changes are effective August 1, 2009.
The designated transfer exemption became effective May 1, 2009.
The cartway provision became effective May 1, 2009, and applies only to cartway petitions filed on or after that date.
Chapter No. 117 (HF 265/SF 262): Probate Section Bill
Chapter 117 includes multiple provisions promoted by the Probate Section of the MSBA. First, the act restores statutory powers of the probate court inadvertently left out of previous legislation to correct, modify, vacate, or amend its records, orders and decrees. Second, the act provides for collection of certain property by affidavit where the value of the estate does not exceed $50,000. The third provision of the act modifies provisions governing final disposition of remains.
The probate court and affidavit provisions are effective August 1, 2009. The provisions governing disposition of remains became effective May 21, 2009.
Additional Bills of Interest
- Chapter No. 71 (HF 1857/SF 534): Rulemaking Notice by Electronic Mail. Chapter 71 authorizes state agencies to give rulemaking notices by electronic mail. Current law requires notices to be given by United States mail. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 80 (HF 456/SF 764): E-Meetings for State Agencies. Chapter 80 allows state agencies to hold meetings electronically instead of in person provided the public has “access” to the meetings, as provided by express conditions. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 125 (HF 1529/SF 798): Dollar Limitation on Attorney Fees. Chapter 125 removes the dollar limitation on attorney or agent fees in certain cases where the state is a party. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 31 (HF 334/SF 683): Garnishment. Chapter 31 modifies various garnishment instructions, forms, procedures, notices, timelines, and exemptions. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 37 (HF 2123/SF 1915): Debt Management and Debt Settlement Services. Chapter 37, the Omnibus Environment Natural Resources bill, incorporates changes to regulate debt management and debt settlement services. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 52 (HF 704/SF 166): Insurable Interest Act. Chapter 52 prohibits stranger-originated life insurance (“STOLI”) practices which are defined as an act, practice, or arrangement to initiate a life insurance policy for the benefit of a third-party investor who, at the time of policy origination, has no insurable interest in the insured. STOLI practices include, but are not limited to, cases in which life insurance is purchased with resources or guarantees from or through a person or entity, who, at the time of policy inception, could not lawfully initiate the policy, and where, at the time of inception, there is an arrangement or agreement, whether spoken or written, to directly or indirectly transfer the ownership of the policy and/or the policy benefits to a third party. Trusts that are created to give the appearance of insurable interest and are used to initiate policies for investors violate the insurable interest requirements and the prohibition against STOLI practices. Effective Date: Effective for policies issued on or after May 10, 2009.
- Chapter No. 88 (HF 1298/SF 1257): Nonprofit Property Tax Exemption. Responding to Under the Rainbow Childhood Center v. City of Goodhue, 741 N.W.2d 880 (Minn. 2007), Chapter 88, the Omnibus Public Finance bill, included a six-factor test to clarify whether a nonprofit is exempt from property taxes. The amendment also includes a provision for exempt status where there is “reasonable justification for failing to meet the factors.” Effective Date: Effective for taxes payable in 2010 and thereafter.
- Chapter No. 98 (HF 1532/SF 1288): Omnibus Secretary of State Bill. Chapter 98 regulates various filings, forms, records, submissions, motions, and orders related to the Secretary of State Office. Chapter 98 permits the use of online signatures; provides for automatic business entity name reservation; amends application for certificate of authority to require statement that the corporation has complied with the organizational laws in the jurisdiction in which it is organized; and provides that forms adopted by the International Association of Commercial Administrators are accepted for filing provided they meet statutory requirements. Effective Date: Various.
- Chapter No. 101 (HF 1532/SF 1288): Secretary of State Filings Required. In addition to Chapter 98, another Secretary of State initiative was introduced as H.F. 1463/S.F. 1224. The legislation focused on changes to business entities filings and fees. This bill was incorporated into the Omnibus State Government Finance bill, which was enacted as Chapter 101. Effective Dates: Various.
- Chapter No. 4 (HF 100/SF 94): I-35W Bridge Collapse Survivor-Compensation Process. Chapter 4 clarifies various provisions governing the I-35W bridge collapse survivor-compensation process, including specifying indemnification rights and clarifying the prohibition on third-party subrogation or recovery claims. Effective Date: Retroactively from May 8, 2008.
- Chapter No. 83 (HF 1162/SF 802): Omnibus Public Safety Finance Act. In addition to providing court funding, Chapter 83 also includes a change in the interest rates on judgments. For a judgment or award of greater than $50,000, the interest rate shall be 10 percent per year until paid. Effective Date: August 1, 2009, and applies to judgments and awards finally entered on or after that date.
- Chapter No. 101 (HF 1781/SF 2082): False Claims Act. Introduced as H.F. 8/S.F. 82, the False Claims Act was incorporated into the Omnibus State Government Finance Bill, Chapter 101, Article 2, Sections 24-39.The False Claims Act specifically prohibits a person from making false claims for payment or approval or falsely avoiding or decreasing obligations to transmit money or property to any political subdivision of the state. The act does not apply to claims, records, or statements related to taxation, and expressly provides that a person is not liable for mere negligence, inadvertence, or mistake. There is no action under this section for inadvertence or mistake.
The act authorizes the attorney general to investigate violations and to bring civil actions to enjoin violations and to recover damages and penalties and also authorizes any person to maintain an action on behalf of the person and a public entity if state or political subdivision money, property, or services are involved.
The act provides that the state or a private person who brings an action under this chapter must prove the essential elements of the claim, including damages by a preponderance of the evidence, and that if the attorney general or a person bringing an action prevails in or settles an action, the court may authorize the person to recover costs, attorney fees, and expert consultant and witness fees from a defendant other than the state or a political subdivision.
The act further provides for a private plaintiff to receive a share of any recovery in proportion to the person’s contribution to the conduct of the action. Effective Date: July 1, 2010.
- Chapter No. 148 (HF 417/SF 578): Recovery of Interest for Insurance Policy Breach. Chapter 148 provides recovery of interest for breach of insurance policy. Under Chapter 148, an insured who prevails against an insurer is entitled to recover 10 percent per annum interest on monetary amounts due under the insurance policy calculated from the date the insured made a request for payment of benefits. Effective Date: This interest recovery section is effective August 1, 2009, and applies to a cause of action existing on, or arising on or after that date.The chapter also permits a deceased professional’s surviving spouse to retain ownership of a professional firm that was solely owned by the decedent for up to one year after the death. This surviving spouse section became effective May 23, 2009, and applies to surviving spouses of professionals who die on or after that date.
- Chapter No. 66 (HF 1056/SF 638): Prompt Subcontractor Payment. Chapter 66 eliminates the residential construction exemption for prompt payment to construction subcontractors. Now all contractors must pay subcontractors within ten days of receipt of request for payment for undisputed services. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 91 (HF 420/SF 776): Express Residential Construction Warranties. Chapter 91 requires that existing statutory implied residential construction warranties be made as express warranties and be provided to the buyer in writing and prohibits waivers of the warranty. Effective Date: August 1, 2009, and applies to contracts entered into on or after that date.
- Chapter No. 59 (HF 1301/SF 993): Omnibus Public Safety Policy Act. Chapter 59 includes a cross-section of statutory changes related to public safety issues.As to crime victims, the chapter provides that a prosecutor must provide victims of domestic assault and harassment with information on civil protection orders which include victims of criminal sexual conduct.
Chapter 59 also makes multiple changes relative to the operation of the courts. Specifically, Chapter 59 sets forth a state policy to identify and eliminate racial, ethnic, and gender fairness barriers in the justice system.
The act also eliminates the requirement that the Hennepin County District Court establish and maintain misdemeanor violations bureaus in specified locations within the county and allows locations for these bureaus to be determined by a majority of the court judges.
The act also expands the authority to appoint a referee to act in conciliation court and implements the license reinstatement diversion pilot program.
Finally, in the employment area, Chapter 59 includes several changes regarding the use of employees’ criminal history. Chapter 59 limits the admissibility of information regarding the criminal history record of an employee or former employee in civil actions against a private employer based on the conduct of the employee. In addition, Chapter 59 prohibits a public employer from considering the criminal history of an applicant for employment until the applicant has been selected for a job interview. The prohibition on considering criminal history until an applicant has been selected for an interview does not apply to the Department of Corrections or public employers who have a statutory duty to conduct a criminal history background check or consider criminal history in the hiring process. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 118 (HF 348/SF 297): Deputy Sheriffs Practicing Law. Chapter 118 modifies provisions limiting the practice of law by deputy sheriffs. This prohibition does not apply to a deputy sheriff who is acting with the approval of the appointing sheriff and whose law-enforcement duties do not have a material nexus with potential legal proceedings for which the deputy sheriff counsels clients. Effective Date: May 22, 2009.
- Chapter No. 38 (HF 1242/SF 1146): Brandon’s Law. Chapter 38 amends the Minnesota Missing Children’s Act to become the Minnesota Missing Persons’ Act by implementing procedures for investigating missing children and endangered persons, regardless of age, which includes persons that are at risk of physical injury or death. Effective Date: July 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 132 (HF 702/SF 561): Mapping Expenditures for Children. Chapter 132 authorizes a pilot project to map state expenditures on children for various purposes; requiring a study on the collection and reporting of summary data relating to decisions that affect a child’s status within the juvenile justice system. Effective Date: July 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 163 (HF 1709/SF 1503): Child Welfare Policy. Chapter 163 makes numerous technical and policy changes in the area of child welfare, including 1) adopting the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children and other changes modifying adoption assistance eligibility, agreements, and benefits; 2) changing foster care provisions; 3) requiring diligent efforts to identify parents of a child; 4) changing notice requirements for termination of parental rights or permanency proceedings; 5) authorizing alternative dispute resolution; 6) changing parental visitation; and 7) requiring additional information in a child’s out-of-home placement plan. Effective Date: Various Dates.
- Chapter No. 46 (HF 632/SF 412): Uniform Adult Guardianship And Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. Chapter 46 enacts the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act to establish procedures for addressing guardianship and protective orders from other jurisdictions. The act also modifies certain transfer of jurisdiction provisions. Effective Date: January 1, 2010, and applies to guardianship and protective proceedings begun on or after that date, except that the interstate provisions apply to proceedings begun before that date, regardless of whether a guardianship or protective order has been issued.
- Chapter No. 67 (HF 2082/SF 1810): Uniform Disclaimer of Property Interests Act. Chapter 67 enacts the Uniform Disclaimer of Property Interests Act that specifies when disclaimers are permitted and when they are barred or limited. The act sets forth the general requirements for effecting a disclaimer, including: 1) defining an interest in property; 2) rights of survivorship in jointly held property; 3) interest by trustee; 4) power of appointment or other power not held in a fiduciary capacity; 5) disclaimer by appointee, object, or taker in default of exercise of power of appointment; 6) delivery and filing requirements for disclaimers; and 7) recording of disclaimer relating to real estate. Effective Date: January 1, 2010. Except as otherwise provided, an interest in or power over property existing on January 1, 2010, as to which the time for delivering or filing a disclaimer under laws superseded by Chapter 67 has not expired, may be disclaimed after January 1, 2010.
- Chapter No. 79 (HF 1362/SF 695): Medical Assistance Claims. In response to In re the Estate of Francis E. Barg, 752 N.W.2d 52 (Minn. 2008), Chapter 79, the Omnibus Health and Human Services Finance bill, includes language amending the current statutory provisions governing claims against persons receiving medical assistance. Specifically, Chapter 79 adds language that redefines the property rights of individuals who receive medical assistance and their spouses by defining the estate of a recipient of medical assistance as consisting of “all the legal title and interests the deceased individual’s predeceased spouse had in jointly owned or marital property at the time of the spouse’s death and the proceeds of those interests, that passed to the deceased individual or another individual, a survivor, an heir, or an assignee of the predeceased spouse through a joint tenancy, tenancy in common, survivorship, life estate, living trust, or other arrangement.” Chapter 79 also provides that “[m]arital property” includes “any and all real or personal property of any kind or interests in such property the predeceased recipient spouse and their [sic] spouse, or either of them, owned at the time of their marriage to each other or acquired during their marriage for purposes of recovery of medical assistance unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.”The new claim provision is limited to claims against recipients who died on or after July 1, 2009; and the claim is not payable from the value of assets attributable to a predeceased spouse whom the individual married after the death of the predeceased recipient spouse or assets acquired after the death of the predeceased recipient spouse with assets which were not marital or jointly owned property.
- Chapter No. 150 (HF 804/SF 951): Guardians and Conservators. Chapter 150 modifies existing provisions governing guardians and conservators. Specifically, Chapter 150 provides for: 1) central registration of guardians and conservators, established by the supreme court by July 1, 2013 (the state court administrator shall establish a registration fee or identify other sources of funds for the system); 2) bill of rights for wards and protected persons; 3) judicial appointment of guardians; 4) who may be a guardian; 5) rights and immunities of a guardian, including conflict-of-interest rules; 6) monitoring of guardianship; 7) termination or modification of guardianship; 8. who may be conservator; 9) petition for order subsequent to appointment; 10) appointment of visitors. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 160 (HF 1482/SF 1208): Medical Assistance Liens. Chapter 160 modifies the statutory provisions governing medical assistance claims and liens against the ownership interest of individuals other than spouses. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 78 (HF 2088/SF 1926): Omnibus Economic Development Finance Bill. Chapter 78 includes language allowing a mortgagee, a mortgagor, or owner to postpone a foreclosure sale. The post-sale redemption period is automatically reduced to five weeks if postponed.
- Chapter No. 123 (HF 1394/SF 1147): Redemption of Abandoned Property. Chapter 123 includes provisions related to addressing abandoned and problem properties. The act includes provisions: 1) governing orders to secure vacant property; 2) specifying notice requirements; 3) modifying local governments to obtain a reduced mortgage foreclosure redemption period for abandoned property; 4) establishing a duty to protect vacant foreclosed property under certain circumstances; 5) providing for the imposition of fines for failure to maintain property; 6) altering the posting requirement for trespassing on construction sites; and 7) modifying provisions governing public nuisances. Effective Date: August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 130 (HF 995/SF 1302): Mortgage Foreclosures. Chapter 130 modifies provisions governing eviction of tenants in property subject to mortgage foreclosure or termination of contract for deed; specifying requirements for vendors under contracts for deed; modifying mortgage foreclosure notices and information requirements; and modifying provisions for sheriff’s sale postponement and perpetuating evidence of sale. Effective Date: Effective for sales conducted before, on, or after August 1, 2009.
- Chapter No. 149 (HF 519/SF 747): Nonconforming Lots in Shoreland Areas. Chapter 149 imposes new regulations on the use and redevelopment of nonconforming lots in shoreland areas. Effective Date: May 22, 2009.
[For additional information including the foregoing and summaries of legislation vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty, see Mr. Grooms’ full summary on the MSBA website at http://www.mnbar.org/committees/legislative/2009Session/index.pdf Ed.]