New laws go into effect Monday in Minnesota, including an increased state minimum wage.
The minimum hourly wage in Minnesota is rising to $9.50 from $9 for large companies, and to $7.75 from $7.25 for small companies. This is the final of three annual increases since legislation for the minimum wage increase was passed in 2014. Back then, Minnesota's state minimum wage was $6.15 an hour, which is lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
The laws taking effect Monday include good news for those planning to get married. There will no longer be a five day waiting period to be issued a marriage license. Beginning Monday, marriage licenses will be issued as soon as the application is completed.
Also happening Monday are the first big changes to the state's drug laws in nearly 30 years. The change favors treatment over jail time for low-level offenders, while being tougher on drug dealers.
Also, the penalty for a repeat drunk driver who kills someone is now 15 years, instead of 10.
Monday will also mark a major juncture in the state's 1-year-old medical marijuana program, by expanding the list of conditions that can be treated by the drug. A decision made in December by the state's health commissioner gave the green light for the expansion to patients suffering from chronic pain.
Nearly 500 patients suffering from intractable pain have already registered to receive the medication. That's five times the number that registered for the program at the very start of the program at this time last year.