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Omnibus judiciary and civil law policy bill heads to House Floor

House Photography file photo
House Photography file photo

Which House bill has wide-ranging proposals to change laws on marriage licenses, fines for snowmobiling offenses, organ donation, closed captioning TV, and collecting money from Canadian court judgements?

That would be HF1404, the omnibus judiciary and civil law policy bill, which is headed to the House Floor after receiving committee approval Thursday.

There are “no surprises” in the bill, said Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville). She chairs the House Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee and sponsors the bill. All included provisions came from bills previously heard and laid over by the committee.

And indeed, the discussion was brief, with the committee’s lead Republican, Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover), only remarking that while there were many good provisions in the bill, there were also enough provisions she disagreed with to cause her to vote against it.

As amended by a delete-all amendment, the bill was approved on a 10-6 party-line vote. Sen. Andrew Mathews (R-Princeton) sponsors the companion, SF1614, which awaits action by the Senate Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee.


Tracking devices

The bill would permit law enforcement officers to attach a mobile tracking device to a stolen vehicle without prior court approval if the owner of the vehicle grants consent or has reported to law enforcement that the vehicle was stolen.

Police would be required to remove the tracking device if the vehicle is recovered and returned to the owner. Evidence collected after the motor vehicle is returned to the owner would be inadmissible in court.


Educational changes

Technology providers would be prohibited from selling or disseminating educational data and prohibited from using the educational data for any commercial purposes.

Schools would also be required to notify parents and students of contracts with technology providers regarding curriculum, testing, or assessment and provide the parent or student an opportunity to opt-out of the associated program or activity.



A provision in the bill would specify that hair texture and hair styles “including but not limited to braids, locks, and twists” are included in the definition of race for purposes of prohibiting racial discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The language in the bill comes from the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” which has been adopted by more than a dozen states.


Digital repair

An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Jamie Long (DFL-Mpls) incorporated the text of HF1156, also called the “Digital Fair Repair Act” sponsored by Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood).

Approved on a 10-6 party-line vote, it would require manufacturers to make parts, documentation and diagnostic tools for digital electronic equipment available to independent repair providers or the equipment owner.

Other notable provisions would:

  • make it unlawful to limit a patient’s access to an organ transplant based on a patient’s race and ethnicity;
  • create a process to register a Canadian court judgment for money in Minnesota;
  • prevent employers, including labor unions and employment agencies, from requesting a job applicant’s pay history;
  • increase civil penalties for certain snowmobile operation violations;
  • add notaries to the list of individuals able to perform a civil marriage;
  • permit county registrars to accept electronic filings of marriage license applications;
  • permit emancipated minors to seek harassment restraining orders on their own behalf; and
  • make it a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act to deny access to closed captioning to a person who needs it in a place of public accommodation when television access is available to others.


What’s in the bill?

The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus judiciary and civil law policy bill:

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