By Mike Austreng, Editor
Too many times there are some of us who probably tend to look at holidays as a way to get time away from work and might forget the reason we get that time off.
A good example might be our most recent holiday, the 4th of July, meant to celebrate our independence from Great Britain – it happened in 1776 when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence proposed by Richard Henry Lee on July 2nd, declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule.
Congress debated this for two days, paying attention to the Declaration of Independence which was prepared by a committee of five – Thomas Jefferson was the principal author.
The day before the signing (which apparently has been debated by many as to which day the declaration was actually signed) John Adams wrote this to his wife:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
As we read information about the day we celebrate as a day off work, we kept thinking about how this would unfold in today’s Congress.
Can you imagine? It would probably take months, if not years, and would be inches thick. Fingers would be pointed, insults hurled, and we’d all wonder if it could ever be accomplished – there’s little doubt our current Congress could never get it done in just two days like their forefathers, and it probably wouldn’t fit on one page either. ****
Every year there are new laws that go into effect on July 1st. Why then, we’re not really sure – maybe it’s because it’s the start of the second half of the year.
This year one of the changes in laws makes wage theft a felony. Apparently there are companies that find ways to steal wages from employees. Whether that be not paying for overtime, not paying for time worked, or any other way a company finds to unfairly treat employees by not paying what they have earned the law carries a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Just last week drug companies are going to start paying a higher registration fee. The money raised will be used to fight opioid abuse.
There is also a new Marital Rape law that eliminates a statute in Minnesota law called the “voluntary relationship defense.”
Education will get a boost of 2% to its base funding and there will be increased funding for higher education as well.
There’s a list of new laws and law changes you can find online.
Beginning August 1st it will no longer be legal for you to talk on your phone while you drive, unless it’s hands free – Minnesota is going hands free and will limit phone use to single touches – basically you can’t do anything – including talking – with the phone in your hand.
Once again, we’re not sure why this new law is taking effect on August 1st while other laws go into effect on July 1st – we haven’t looked for the reason.
The new law and when it takes effect has some police officers confused too. Last week, July 2nd, someone we know was pulled over to be given a warning about the new hands free law. Since the person who was pulled over had just heard on television about the new law taking effect on August 1st he questioned why he was being pulled over since he wasn’t doing anything else wrong. A discussion ensued and while the police officer insisted the new law took effect July 1st, along with all the other laws, the driver insisted the metro news reported the hands free cell phone law goes into effect on August 1st.
In the end the officer let the driver go, telling him he didn’t intend to write the ticket anyway and we would imagine there will be a time period when police officers will stop people and issue warnings once the hands free law becomes an active Minnesota law.
Distracted driving causes way too many accidents and our lawmakers are doing what they can to help prevent tragedies caused by people paying attention to things other than how they drive, but you have a few more weeks before it is against the law to hold your phone in your hand and talk while you drive.
Have A Good Week!