Slight hike to state minimum wage, more opioid education to become law Jan. 1
ST. PAUL — Those making minimum wage in most Minnesota cities will see a slight bump in their pay.
Medical professionals will be required to learn more about safe opioid painkiller prescribing practices as they go to renew their licenses.
And prescription drug middlemen working with health insurers and large employers will face new licensing requirements under state law in an effort to force additional transparency around drug prices.
Minnesota lawmakers earlier this year approved a slate of new laws and a handful of them are set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Before the calendar turns, learn more about them so you can avoid breaking the law.
Minimum wage to increase slightly
Beginning Jan. 1, more than 200,000 workers receiving minimum wage will see their wages boosted slightly as rates are adjusted upward to account for inflation. Under state law, larger employers will have to pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour, up from the current $9.86 rate, and smaller employers will have to pay at least $8.15 an hour, up from $8.04.
Employers that make more than $500,000 annually are considered large employers. Those that make less are considered small.
Workers younger than 18, or those younger than 20 who are being trained in their position during the first 90 days will also see their minimum hourly wage increase to $8.15.
Opioid addiction education, treatment increase
Another facet of a sweeping proposal to increase education and treatment for opioid painkiller addiction is set to take effect beginning in 2020.
Beginning Jan. 1, doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists and podiatrists seeking to renew their licenses in Minnesota must undergo two hours of additional education about best practices for prescribing opioids and controlled substances. The move is aimed at curbing excessive prescriptions of opioid painkillers, which are highly addictive.
Opioid-related deaths increased by 681% between 2000 and 2017, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. And 422 died in 2017 in opioid-related deaths while preliminary statistics showed 331 died from opioid-related causes in 2018. Those figures are the most recent available.
Prescription drug licensing
Starting in 2020, the companies that help manage prescription drug benefits for health insurance companies and large employers will be required to receive a license from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The move is aimed at reining in drug prices and making more transparent the decisions that cause prices to spike or dip.
Pharmacy benefit managers licensed by the department will face requirements around transparency, network adequacy and ownership interest. And seeking licenses will have to pay a fee and prove their company is fiscally responsible.
Those that operate without a license in Minnesota will face a fee of $5,000 a day and they could face additional civil penalties if they don't comply with transparency requirements. License holders that engage in fraudulent activity or fail to meet department standards could have their licenses suspended or revoked.
Tusk, horn, tooth sales banned
Minnesota starting Jan. 1 will ban the sale or purchase of “a tooth or tusk from any species of elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, mastodon, walrus, whale, or narwhal, or any piece thereof, whether raw or worked” as well as “a horn; piece of horn; or derivative of a horn, such as a powder, of any species of rhinoceros.”
Those who buy or sell the prohibited animal parts will have to forfeit the items and they will be destroyed or given to educational or scientific nonprofit organizations. Exceptions apply for items authorized by law, antiques or parts of some musical instruments, parts purchased or sold as part of law enforcement activity or those bought by nonprofits focused on education or science.