language to be deleted (2) new language
relating to commerce; establishing a biennial budget for Department of Commerce, Public Utilities Commission, and energy activities; modifying various provisions governing insurance; modifying provisions governing collections agencies and debt buyers; modifying and adding consumer protections; establishing and modifying provisions governing energy, renewable energy, and utility regulation; providing for certain salary increases; making technical changes; establishing penalties; requiring reports; appropriating money;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 13.712, by adding a subdivision; 16B.86; 16B.87; 60A.092, subdivision 10a, by adding a subdivision; 60A.0921, subdivision 2; 60A.71, subdivision 7; 61A.245, subdivision 4; 62J.03, subdivision 4; 62J.23, subdivision 2; 62J.26, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 65B.15, subdivision 1; 65B.43, subdivision 12; 65B.472, subdivision 1; 79.55, subdivision 10; 79.61, subdivision 1; 80G.06, subdivision 1; 82.57, subdivisions 1, 5; 82.62, subdivision 3; 82.81, subdivision 12; 82B.021, subdivision 18; 82B.11, subdivision 3; 115C.094; 116.155, by adding a subdivision; 116C.7792; 174.29, subdivision 1; 174.30, subdivisions 1, 10; 216B.096, subdivisions 2, 3; 216B.097, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, by adding a subdivision; 216B.0976; 216B.1691, subdivision 2f; 216B.241, by adding a subdivision; 216B.2412, subdivision 3; 216B.2422, by adding a subdivision; 216B.62, subdivision 3b; 216F.012; 221.031, subdivision 3b; 256B.0625, subdivisions 10, 17; 308A.201, subdivision 12; 325E.21, subdivisions 1, 1b, by adding a subdivision; 325F.171, by adding a subdivision; 325F.172, by adding a subdivision; 332.31, subdivisions 3, 6, by adding subdivisions; 332.311; 332.32; 332.33, subdivisions 1, 2, 5, 5a, 7, 8, by adding a subdivision; 332.34; 332.345; 332.355; 332.37; 332.385; 332.40, subdivision 3; 332.42, subdivisions 1, 2; 514.972, subdivisions 4, 5; 514.973, subdivisions 3, 4; 514.974; 514.977; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 60A; 62Q; 80G; 115B; 116J; 216B; 216C; 216F; 325F; proposing coding for new law as Minnesota Statutes, chapter 58B; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 45.017; 60A.98; 60A.981; 60A.982; 115C.13.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:
The reinsurance is ceded and credit allowed to an assuming insurer not meeting the requirements of subdivision 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10, but only with respect to the insurance of risks located in jurisdictions where the reinsurance is required by applicable law or regulation of that jurisdiction.
(a) The commissioner shall post notice on the department's website promptly upon receipt of any application for certification, including instructions on how members of the public may respond to the application. The commissioner may not take final action on the application until at least 30 days after posting the notice.
(b) The commissioner shall issue written notice to an assuming insurer that has applied and been approved as a certified reinsurer. The notice must include the rating assigned the certified reinsurer in accordance with subdivision 1. The commissioner shall publish a list of all certified reinsurers and their ratings.
(c) In order to be eligible for certification, the assuming insurer must:
(1) be domiciled and licensed to transact insurance or reinsurance in a qualified jurisdiction, as determined by the commissioner under subdivision 3;
(2) maintain capital and surplus, or its equivalent, of no less than $250,000,000 calculated in accordance with paragraph (d), clause (8). This requirement may also be satisfied by an association including incorporated and individual unincorporated underwriters having minimum capital and surplus equivalents net of liabilities of at least $250,000,000 and a central fund containing a balance of at least $250,000,000;
(3) maintain financial strength ratings from two or more rating agencies acceptable to the commissioner. These ratings shall be based on interactive communication between the rating agency and the assuming insurer and shall not be based solely on publicly available information. These financial strength ratings shall be one factor used by the commissioner in determining the rating that is assigned to the assuming insurer. Acceptable rating agencies include the following:
(i) Standard & Poor's;
(ii) Moody's Investors Service;
(iii) Fitch Ratings;
(iv) A.M. Best Company; or
(v) any other nationally recognized statistical rating organization; and
(4) ensure that the certified reinsurer complies with any other requirements reasonably imposed by the commissioner.
(d) Each certified reinsurer shall be rated on a legal entity basis, with due consideration being given to the group rating where appropriate, except that an association including incorporated and individual unincorporated underwriters that has been approved to do business as a single certified reinsurer may be evaluated on the basis of its group rating. Factors that may be considered as part of the evaluation process include, but are not limited to:
(1) certified reinsurer's financial strength rating from an acceptable rating agency. The maximum rating that a certified reinsurer may be assigned will correspond to its financial strength rating as outlined in the table below. The commissioner shall use the lowest financial strength rating received from an approved rating agency in establishing the maximum rating of a certified reinsurer. A failure to obtain or maintain at least two financial strength ratings from acceptable rating agencies will result in loss of eligibility for certification;
|Secure - 1||A++||AAA||Aaa||AAA|
|Secure - 2||A+||AA+, AA, AA-||Aa1, Aa2, Aa3||AA+, AA, AA-|
|Secure - 3||A||A+, A||A1, A2||A+, A|
|Secure - 4||A-||A-||A3||A-|
|Secure - 5||B++, B-||BBB+, BBB, BBB-||Baa1, Baa2, Baa3||BBB+, BBB, BBB-|
|Vulnerable - 6||B, B-C++, C+, C, C-, D, E, F||BB+, BB, BB-, B+, B, B-, CCC, CC, C, D, R||Ba1, Ba2, Ba3, B1, B2, B3, Caa, Ca, C||BB+, BB, BB-, B+, B, B-, CCC+, CC, CCC-, DD|
(2) the business practices of the certified reinsurer in dealing with its ceding insurers, including its record of compliance with reinsurance contractual terms and obligations;
(3) for certified reinsurers domiciled in the United States, a review of the most recent applicable NAIC annual statement;
(4) for certified reinsurers not domiciled in the United States, a review annually of such forms as may be required by the commissioner;
(5) the reputation of the certified reinsurer for prompt payment of claims under reinsurance agreements, based on an analysis of ceding insurers' reporting of overdue reinsurance recoverables, including the proportion of obligations that are more than 90 days past due or are in dispute, with specific attention given to obligations payable to companies that are in administrative supervision or receivership;
(6) regulatory actions against the certified reinsurer;
(7) the report of the independent auditor on the financial statements of the insurance enterprise, on the basis described in clause (8);
(8) for certified reinsurers not domiciled in the United States, audited financial statements (audited United States GAAP basis if available, audited IFRS basis statements are allowed, but must include an audited footnote reconciling equity and net income to a United States GAAP basis, or, with permission of the commissioner, audited IFRS statements with reconciliation to United States GAAP certified by an officer of the company). Upon the initial application for certification, the commissioner will consider audited financial statements for the last three years filed with its non-United States jurisdiction supervisor;
(9) the liquidation priority of obligations to a ceding insurer in the certified reinsurer's domiciliary jurisdiction in the context of an insolvency proceeding;
(10) a certified reinsurer's participation in any solvent scheme of arrangement, or similar procedure, which involves United States ceding insurers. The commissioner must receive prior notice from a certified reinsurer that proposes participation by the certified reinsurer in a solvent scheme of arrangement; and
(11) other information as determined by the commissioner.
(e) Based on the analysis conducted under paragraph (d), clause (5), of a certified reinsurer's reputation for prompt payment of claims, the commissioner may make appropriate adjustments in the security the certified reinsurer is required to post to protect its liabilities to United States ceding insurers, provided that the commissioner shall, at a minimum, increase the security the certified reinsurer is required to post by one rating level under paragraph (d), clause (1), if the commissioner finds that:
(1) more than 15 percent of the certified reinsurer's ceding insurance clients have overdue reinsurance recoverables on paid losses of 90 days or more which are not in dispute and which exceed $100,000 for each cedent; or
(2) the aggregate amount of reinsurance recoverables on paid losses which are not in dispute that are overdue by 90 days or more exceeds $50,000,000.
(f) The assuming insurer must submit such forms as required by the commissioner as evidence of its submission to the jurisdiction of this state, appoint the commissioner as an agent for service of process in this state, and agree to provide security for 100 percent of the assuming insurer's liabilities attributable to reinsurance ceded by United States ceding insurers if it resists enforcement of a final United States judgment. The commissioner shall not certify an assuming insurer that is domiciled in a jurisdiction that the commissioner has determined does not adequately and promptly enforce final United States judgments or arbitration awards.
(g) The certified reinsurer must agree to meet filing requirements as determined by the commissioner, both with respect to an initial application for certification and on an ongoing basis. All data submitted by certified reinsurers to the commissioner is nonpublic under section 13.02, subdivision 9. The certified reinsurer must file with the commissioner:
(1) a notification within ten days of any regulatory actions taken against the certified reinsurer, any change in the provisions of its domiciliary license, or any change in rating by an approved rating agency, including a statement describing such changes and the reasons therefore;
(2) an annual report regarding reinsurance assumed, in a form determined by the commissioner;
(3) an annual report of the independent auditor on the financial statements of the insurance enterprise, on the basis described in clause (4);
(4) an annual audited financial statement, regulatory filings, and actuarial opinion filed with the certified reinsurer's supervisor. Upon the initial certification, audited financial statements for the last three years filed with the certified reinsurer's supervisor;
(5) at least annually, an updated list of all disputed and overdue reinsurance claims regarding reinsurance assumed from United States domestic ceding insurers;
(6) a certification from the certified reinsurer's domestic regulator that the certified reinsurer is in good standing and maintains capital in excess of the jurisdiction's highest regulatory action level; and
(7) any other relevant information as determined by the commissioner.
(a) Each applicant for a reinsurance intermediary license shall pay to the commissioner a fee of $200 for an initial two-year license and a fee of $150 for each renewal. Applications shall be submitted on forms prescribed by the commissioner.
(b) Initial licenses issued under this chapter are valid for a period not to exceed 24 months and expire on October 31 of the renewal year assigned by the commissioner. Each renewal reinsurance intermediary license is valid for a period of 24 months. Licensees who submit renewal applications postmarked or delivered on or before October 15 of the renewal year may continue to transact business whether or not the renewal license has been received by November 1. Licensees who submit applications postmarked or delivered after October 15 of the renewal year must not transact business after the expiration date of the license until the renewal license has been received.
(c) All fees are nonreturnable, except that an overpayment of any fee may be refunded upon proper application.
The minimum values as specified in subdivisions 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 of any paid-up annuity, cash surrender or death benefits available under an annuity contract shall be based upon minimum nonforfeiture amounts as defined in this subdivision.
(a) The minimum nonforfeiture amount at any time at or prior to the commencement of any annuity payments shall be equal to an accumulation up to that time at rates of interest as indicated in paragraph (b) of the net considerations, as defined in this subdivision, paid prior to that time, decreased by the sum of clauses (1) through (4):
(1) any prior withdrawals from or partial surrenders of the contract accumulated at rates of interest as indicated in paragraph (b);
(2) an annual contract charge of $50, accumulated at rates of interest as indicated in paragraph (b);
(3) any premium tax paid by the company for the contract and not subsequently credited back to the company, such as upon early termination of the contract, in which case this decrease must not be taken, accumulated at rates of interest as indicated in paragraph (b); and
(4) the amount of any indebtedness to the company on the contract, including interest due and accrued.
The net considerations for a given contract year used to define the minimum nonforfeiture amount shall be an amount equal to 87.5 percent of the gross considerations credited to the contract during that contract year.
(b) The interest rate used in determining minimum nonforfeiture amounts must be an annual rate of interest determined as the lesser of three percent per annum and the following, which must be specified in the contract if the interest rate will be reset:
(1) the five-year constant maturity treasury rate reported by the Federal Reserve as of a date, or average over a period, rounded to the nearest 1/20 of one percent, specified in the contract no longer than 15 months prior to the contract issue date or redetermination date under clause (4);
(2) reduced by 125 basis points;
(3) where the resulting interest rate is not less than one percent; and
(4) the interest rate shall apply for an initial period and may be redetermined for additional periods. The redetermination date, basis, and period, if any, shall be stated in the contract. The basis is the date or average over a specified period that produces the value of the five-year constant maturity treasury rate to be used at each redetermination date.
(c) During the period or term that a contract provides substantive participation in an equity indexed benefit, it may increase the reduction described in clause (2) by up to an additional 100 basis points to reflect the value of the equity index benefit. The present value at the contract issue date, and at each redetermination date thereafter, of the additional reduction must not exceed the market value of the benefit. The commissioner may require a demonstration that the present value of the additional reduction does not exceed the market value of the benefit. Lacking such a demonstration that is acceptable to the commissioner, the commissioner may disallow or limit the additional reduction.
(a) From July 1, 1992, until rules are adopted by the commissioner under this section, the restrictions in the federal Medicare antikickback statutes in section 1128B(b) of the Social Security Act, United States Code, title 42, section 1320a-7b(b), and rules adopted under the federal statutes, apply to all persons in the state, regardless of whether the person participates in any state health care program.
(b) Nothing in paragraph (a) shall be construed to prohibit an individual from receiving a discount or other reduction in price or a limited-time free supply or samples of a prescription drug, medical supply, or medical equipment offered by a pharmaceutical manufacturer, medical supply or device manufacturer, health plan company, or pharmacy benefit manager, so long as:
(1) the discount or reduction in price is provided to the individual in connection with the purchase of a prescription drug, medical supply, or medical equipment prescribed for that individual;
(2) it otherwise complies with the requirements of state and federal law applicable to enrollees of state and federal public health care programs;
(3) the discount or reduction in price does not exceed the amount paid directly by the individual for the prescription drug, medical supply, or medical equipment; and
(4) the limited-time free supply or samples are provided by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or pharmacist, as provided by the federal Prescription Drug Marketing Act.
For purposes of this paragraph, "prescription drug" includes prescription drugs that are administered through infusion, and related services and supplies.
(c) No benefit, reward, remuneration, or incentive for continued product use may be provided to an individual or an individual's family by a pharmaceutical manufacturer, medical supply or device manufacturer, or pharmacy benefit manager, except that this prohibition does not apply to:
(1) activities permitted under paragraph (b);
(2) a pharmaceutical manufacturer, medical supply or device manufacturer, health plan company, or pharmacy benefit manager providing to a patient, at a discount or reduced price or free of charge, ancillary products necessary for treatment of the medical condition for which the prescription drug, medical supply, or medical equipment was prescribed or provided; and
(3) a pharmaceutical manufacturer, medical supply or device manufacturer, health plan company, or pharmacy benefit manager providing to a patient a trinket or memento of insignificant value.
(d) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a health plan company from offering a tiered formulary with different co-payment or cost-sharing amounts for different drugs.
The commissioner shall issue a report by March 1 of each year, comparing the average rates charged by workers' compensation insurers in the state to the pure premium base rates filed by the association, as reviewed by the Rate Oversight Commission. The Rate Oversight Commission shall review the commissioner's report and if the experience indicates that rates have not reasonably reflected changes in pure premiums, the rate oversight commission shall recommend to the legislature appropriate legislative changes to this chapter.
Any data service organization shall perform the following activities:
(1) file statistical plans, including classification definitions, amendments to the plans, and definitions, with the commissioner for approval, and assign each compensation risk written by its members to its approved classification for reporting purposes;
(2) establish requirements for data reporting and monitoring methods to maintain a high quality database;
(3) prepare and distribute a periodic report, in a form prescribed by the commissioner, on ratemaking including, but not limited to the following elements:
(i) development factors and alternative derivations;
(ii) trend factors and alternative derivations and applications;
pure premium relativities for the approved classification system for which data are reported, provided that the relativities for insureds engaged in similar occupations and presenting substantially similar risks shall, if different, differ by at least ten percent; and
(iv) an evaluation of the effects of changes in law on loss data.
The report shall also include explicit discussion and explanation of methodology, alternatives examined, assumptions adopted, and areas of judgment and reasoning supporting judgments entered into, and the effect of various combinations of these elements on indications for modification of an overall pure premium rate level change. The pure premium relativities and rate level indications shall not include a loading for expenses or profit and no expense or profit data or recommendations relating to expense or profit shall be included in the report or collected by a data service organization;
(4) collect, compile, summarize, and distribute data from members or other sources pursuant to a statistical plan approved by the commissioner;
(5) prepare merit rating plan and calculate any variable factors necessary for utilization of the plan. Such a plan may be used by any of its members, at the option of the member provided that the application of a plan shall not result in rates that are unfairly discriminatory;
(6) provide loss data specific to an insured to the insured at a reasonable cost;
(7) distribute information to an insured or interested party that is filed with the commissioner and is open to public inspection; and
(8) assess its members for operating expenses on a fair and equitable basis.
Every dealer shall maintain a current, valid surety bond issued by a surety company admitted to do business in Minnesota in an amount based on the transactions (purchases from and sales to consumers at retail) during the 12-month period prior to registration, or renewal, whichever is applicable.
The amount of the surety bond shall be as specified in the table below:
|Transaction Amount in Preceding
|Surety Bond Required|
|$25,000 to $200,000||$25,000|
|$200,000.01 to $500,000||$50,000|
|$500,000.01 to $1,000,000||$100,000|
|$1,000,000.01 to $2,000,000||$150,000|
The following fees shall be paid to the commissioner:
(a) a fee of $150 for each initial individual broker's license, and a fee of $100 for each renewal thereof;
(b) a fee of $70 for each initial salesperson's license, and a fee of $40 for each renewal thereof;
(c) a fee of $85 for each initial real estate closing agent license, and a fee of $60 for each renewal thereof;
(d) a fee of $150 for each initial corporate, limited liability company, or partnership license, and a fee of $100 for each renewal thereof;
(e) a fee for payment to the education, research and recovery fund in accordance with section 82.86;
(f) a fee of $20 for each transfer;
(g) a fee of $50 for license reinstatement;
(h) a fee of $20 for reactivating a corporate, limited liability company, or partnership license; and
(i) in addition to the fees required under this subdivision, individual licensees under clauses (a) and (b) shall pay, for each initial license and renewal, a technology surcharge of up to $40 under section 45.24, unless the commissioner has adjusted the surcharge as permitted under that section.
If an initial license issued under subdivision 1, paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) expires less than 12 months after issuance, the license fee shall be reduced by an amount equal to one-half the fee for a renewal of the license.
A person whose application for a license renewal has not been timely submitted and who has not received notice of approval of renewal may not continue to transact business either as a real estate broker, salesperson, or closing agent after June 30 of the renewal year until approval of renewal is received. Application for renewal of a license is timely submitted if:
(1) all requirements for renewal, including continuing education requirements, have been completed by June 15 of the renewal year; and
(2) the application is submitted before the renewal deadline in the manner prescribed by the commissioner, duly executed and sworn to, accompanied by fees prescribed by this chapter, and containing any information the commissioner requires.
(a) Prohibitions. For the purposes of section 82.82, subdivision 1, clause (b), the following acts and practices constitute fraudulent, deceptive, or dishonest practices:
(1) act on behalf of more than one party to a transaction without the knowledge and consent of all parties;
(2) act in the dual capacity of licensee and undisclosed principal in any transaction;
(3) receive funds while acting as principal which funds would constitute trust funds if received by a licensee acting as an agent, unless the funds are placed in a trust account. Funds need not be placed in a trust account if a written agreement signed by all parties to the transaction specifies a different disposition of the funds, in accordance with section 82.82, subdivision 1;
(4) violate any state or federal law concerning discrimination intended to protect the rights of purchasers or renters of real estate;
(5) make a material misstatement in an application for a license or in any information furnished to the commissioner;
(6) procure or attempt to procure a real estate license for himself or herself or any person by fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit;
(7) represent membership in any real estate-related organization in which the licensee is not a member;
(8) advertise in any manner that is misleading or inaccurate with respect to properties, terms, values, policies, or services conducted by the licensee;
(9) make any material misrepresentation or permit or allow another to make any material misrepresentation;
(10) make any false or misleading statements, or permit or allow another to make any false or misleading statements, of a character likely to influence, persuade, or induce the consummation of a transaction contemplated by this chapter;
(11) fail within a reasonable time to account for or remit any money coming into the licensee's possession which belongs to another;
(12) commingle with his or her own money or property trust funds or any other money or property of another held by the licensee;
(13) demand from a seller a commission to compensation which the licensee is not entitled, knowing that he or she is not entitled to the commission compensation;
(14) pay or give money or goods of value to an unlicensed person for any assistance or information relating to the procurement by a licensee of a listing of a property or of a prospective buyer of a property (this item does not apply to money or goods paid or given to the parties to the transaction);
(15) fail to maintain a trust account at all times, as provided by law;
(16) engage, with respect to the offer, sale, or rental of real estate, in an anticompetitive activity;
(17) represent on advertisements, cards, signs, circulars, letterheads, or in any other manner, that he or she is engaged in the business of financial planning unless he or she provides a disclosure document to the client. The document must be signed by the client and a copy must be left with the client. The disclosure document must contain the following:
(i) the basis of fees, commissions, or other compensation received by him or her in connection with rendering of financial planning services or financial counseling or advice in the following language:
"My compensation may be based on the following:
(a) ... commissions generated from the products I sell you;
(b) ... fees; or
(c) ... a combination of (a) and (b). [Comments]";
(ii) the name and address of any company or firm that supplies the financial services or products offered or sold by him or her in the following language:
"I am authorized to offer or sell products and/or services issued by or through the following firm(s):
The products will be traded, distributed, or placed through the clearing/trading firm(s) of:
(iii) the license(s) held by the person under this chapter or chapter 60A or 80A in the following language:
"I am licensed in Minnesota as a(n):
(a) ... insurance agent;
(b) ... securities agent or broker/dealer;
(c) ... real estate broker or salesperson;
(d) ... investment adviser"; and
(iv) the specific identity of any financial products or services, by category, for example mutual funds, stocks, or limited partnerships, the person is authorized to offer or sell in the following language:
"The license(s) entitles me to offer and sell the following products and/or services:
(a) ... securities, specifically the following: [List];
(b) ... real property;
(c) ... insurance; and
(d) ... other: [List]."
(b) Determining violation. A licensee shall be deemed to have violated this section if the licensee has been found to have violated sections 325D.49 to 325D.66, by a final decision or order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) Commissioner's authority. Nothing in this section limits the authority of the commissioner to take actions against a licensee for fraudulent, deceptive, or dishonest practices not specifically described in this section.
"Licensed real property appraiser" means an individual licensed under this chapter to perform appraisals on noncomplex one-family to four-family residential units or agricultural property having a transactional value of less than $1,000,000 and complex one-family to four-family residential units or agricultural property having a transactional value of less than $250,000.
A licensed residential real property appraiser may appraise noncomplex residential property or agricultural property having a transaction value less than $1,000,000 and complex residential or agricultural property having a transaction value less than $250,000.
Medical assistance covers laboratory and x-ray services.
"Commissioner" means the commissioner of health.
For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "commissioner" means the commissioner of commerce;
(2) "health plan" means a health plan as defined in section 62A.011, subdivision 3, but includes coverage listed in clauses (7) and (10) of that definition;
(3) "mandated health benefit proposal" means a proposal that would statutorily require a health plan to do the following:
(i) provide coverage or increase the amount of coverage for the treatment of a particular disease, condition, or other health care need;
(ii) provide coverage or increase the amount of coverage of a particular type of health care treatment or service or of equipment, supplies, or drugs used in connection with a health care treatment or service; or
(iii) provide coverage for care delivered by a specific type of provider.
"Mandated health benefit proposal" does not include health benefit proposals amending the scope of practice of a licensed health care professional.
(a) The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioners of health and management and budget, must evaluate mandated health benefit proposals as provided under subdivision 3.
(b) The purpose of the evaluation is to provide the legislature with a complete and timely analysis of all ramifications of any mandated health benefit proposal. The evaluation must include, in addition to other relevant information, the following:
(1) scientific and medical information on the proposed health benefit, on the potential for harm or benefit to the patient, and on the comparative benefit or harm from alternative forms of treatment;
(2) public health, economic, and fiscal impacts of the proposed mandate on persons receiving health services in Minnesota, on the relative cost-effectiveness of the benefit, and on the health care system in general;
(3) the extent to which the service is generally utilized by a significant portion of the population;
(4) the extent to which insurance coverage for the proposed mandated benefit is already generally available;
(5) the extent to which the mandated coverage will increase or decrease the cost of the service; and
(6) The commissioner may consider actuarial analysis done by health insurers in determining the cost of the proposed mandated benefit.
(c) The commissioner must summarize the nature and quality of available information on these issues, and, if possible, must provide preliminary information to the public. The commissioner may conduct research on these issues or may determine that existing research is sufficient to meet the informational needs of the legislature. The commissioner may seek the assistance and advice of researchers, community leaders, or other persons or organizations with relevant expertise.
(a) Whenever a legislative measure containing a mandated health benefit proposal is introduced as a bill or offered as an amendment to a bill, or is likely to be introduced as a bill or offered as an amendment, a chair of any standing legislative committee that has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the proposal may request that the commissioner complete an evaluation of the proposal under this section, to inform any committee of floor action by either house of the legislature.
(b) The commissioner must conduct an evaluation described in subdivision 2 of each mandated health benefit proposal for which an evaluation is requested under paragraph (a), unless the commissioner determines under paragraph (c) or subdivision 4 that priorities and resources do not permit its evaluation.
(c) If requests for evaluation of multiple proposals are received, the commissioner must consult with the chairs of the standing legislative committees having jurisdiction over the subject matter of the mandated health benefit proposals to prioritize the requests and establish a reporting date for each proposal to be evaluated. The commissioner is not required to direct an unreasonable quantity of the commissioner's resources to these evaluations.
(a) The commissioner need not use any funds for purposes of this section other than as provided in this subdivision or as specified in an appropriation.
(b) The commissioner may seek and accept funding from sources other than the state to pay for evaluations under this section to supplement or replace state appropriations. Any money received under this paragraph must be deposited in the state treasury, credited to a separate account for this purpose in the special revenue fund, and is appropriated to the commissioner for purposes of this section.
(c) If a request for an evaluation under this section has been made, the commissioner may use for purposes of the evaluation:
(1) any funds appropriated to the commissioner specifically for purposes of this section; or
(2) funds available under paragraph (b), if use of the funds for evaluation of that mandated health benefit proposal is consistent with any restrictions imposed by the source of the funds.
(d) The commissioner must ensure that the source of the funding has no influence on the process or outcome of the evaluation.
"Collection agency" means and includes any person engaged in the business of collection for others any account, bill or other indebtedness except as hereinafter provided. It includes persons who furnish collection systems carrying a name which simulates the name of a collection agency and who supply forms or form letters to be used by the creditor, even though such forms direct the debtor to make payments directly to the creditor rather than to such fictitious agency.
"Collector" is a person acting under the authority of a collection agency under subdivision 3, and on its behalf in the business of collection for others an account, bill, or other indebtedness except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
The powers, duties, and responsibilities of the consumer services section under sections 332.31 to 332.44 relating to collection agencies are hereby transferred to and imposed upon the commissioner of commerce.
(a) The term "collection agency" shall not include persons whose collection activities are confined to and are directly related to the operation of a business other than that of a collection agency such as, but not limited to banks when collecting accounts owed to the banks and when the bank will sustain any loss arising from uncollectible accounts, abstract companies doing an escrow business, real estate brokers, public officers, persons acting under order of a court, lawyers, trust companies, insurance companies, credit unions, savings associations, loan or finance companies unless they are engaged in asserting, enforcing or prosecuting unsecured claims which have been purchased from any person, firm, or association when there is recourse to the seller for all or part of the claim if the claim is not collected.
(b) The term "collection agency" shall not include a trade association performing services authorized by section 604.15, subdivision 4a, but the trade association in performing the services may not engage in any conduct that would be prohibited for a collection agency under section 332.37.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall conduct within this state a collection agency or engage within this state in the business of collecting claims for others as defined in sections 332.31 to 332.44, without having first applied for and obtained a collection agency license. A person acting under the authority of a collection agency, as a collector, must first register with the commissioner under this section. A registered collector may use one additional assumed name only if the assumed name is registered with and approved by the commissioner.
A person who carries on business as a collection agency without first having obtained a license or acts as a collector without first having registered with the commissioner pursuant to sections 332.31 to 332.44, or who carries on this business after the revocation, suspension, or expiration of a license or registration is guilty of a misdemeanor.
On finding that an applicant for a collection agency license is not qualified under sections 332.31 to 332.44, the commissioner shall reject the application and shall give the applicant written notice of the rejection and the reasons for the rejection.
A licensed collection agency, on behalf of an individual collector, must register with the state all individuals in the collection agency's employ who are performing the duties of a collector as defined in sections 332.31 to 332.44. The collection agency must apply for an individual collection registration in a form prescribed by the commissioner. The collection agency shall verify on the form that the applicant has confirmed that the applicant meets the requirements to perform the duties of a collector as defined in sections 332.31 to 332.44. Upon submission of the application to the department, the individual may begin to perform the duties of a collector and may continue to do so unless the licensed collection agency is informed by the commissioner that the individual is ineligible.
(a) A licensed collection agency must give the commissioner written notice of a change in company name, address, or ownership not later than ten days after the change occurs. A registered individual collector must give written notice of a change of address, name, or assumed name no later than ten days after the change occurs.
(b) Upon the death of any collection agency licensee, the license of the decedent may be transferred to the executor or administrator of the estate for the unexpired term of the license. The executor or administrator may be authorized to continue or discontinue the collection business of the decedent under the direction of the court having jurisdiction of the probate.
(a) Each licensed collection agency must establish procedures to follow when screening an individual collector applicant prior to submitting an applicant to the commissioner for initial registration and at renewal.
(b) The screening process for initial registration must be done at the time of hiring. The process must include a national criminal history record search, an attorney licensing search, and a county criminal history search for all counties where the applicant has resided within the five years immediately preceding the initial registration, to determine whether the applicant is eligible to be registered under section 332.35. Each licensed collection agency shall use a vendor that is a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, or an equivalent vendor, to conduct this background screening process.
(c) Screening for renewal of individual collector registration must include a national criminal history record search and a county criminal history search for all counties where the individual has resided during the immediate preceding year. Screening for renewal of individual collector registrations must take place no more than 60 days before the license expiration or renewal date. A renewal screening is not required if an individual collector has been subjected to an initial background screening within 12 months of the first registration renewal date. A renewal screening is required for all subsequent annual registration renewals.
(d) The commissioner may review the procedures to ensure the integrity of the screening process. Failure by a licensed collection agency to establish these procedures is subject to action under section 332.40.
The commissioner of commerce shall require each collection agency licensee to file and maintain in force a corporate surety bond, in a form to be prescribed by, and acceptable to, the commissioner, and in a sum of at least $50,000 plus an additional $5,000 for each $100,000 received by the collection agency from debtors located in Minnesota during the previous calendar year, less commissions earned by the collection agency on those collections for the previous calendar year. The total amount of the bond shall not exceed $100,000. A collection agency may deposit cash in and with a depository acceptable to the commissioner in an amount and in the manner prescribed and approved by the commissioner in lieu of a bond.
A payment collected by a collector or collection agency on behalf of a customer shall be held by the collector or collection agency in a separate trust account clearly designated for customer funds. The account must be in a bank or other depository institution authorized or chartered under the laws of any state or of the United States.
The commissioner may take action against a collection agency for any violations of debt collection laws by its debt collectors. The commissioner may also take action against the debt collectors themselves for these same violations.
No collection agency or collector shall:
(1) in collection letters or publications, or in any communication, oral or written threaten wage garnishment or legal suit by a particular lawyer, unless it has actually retained the lawyer;
(2) use or employ sheriffs or any other officer authorized to serve legal papers in connection with the collection of a claim, except when performing their legally authorized duties;
(3) use or threaten to use methods of collection which violate Minnesota law;
(4) furnish legal advice or otherwise engage in the practice of law or represent that it is competent to do so;
(5) communicate with debtors in a misleading or deceptive manner by using the stationery of a lawyer, forms or instruments which only lawyers are authorized to prepare, or instruments which simulate the form and appearance of judicial process;
(6) exercise authority on behalf of a creditor to employ the services of lawyers unless the creditor has specifically authorized the agency in writing to do so and the agency's course of conduct is at all times consistent with a true relationship of attorney and client between the lawyer and the creditor;
(7) publish or cause to be published any list of debtors except for credit reporting purposes, use shame cards or shame automobiles, advertise or threaten to advertise for sale any claim as a means of forcing payment thereof, or use similar devices or methods of intimidation;
(8) refuse to return any claim or claims and all valuable papers deposited with a claim or claims upon written request of the creditor, claimant or forwarder after tender of the amounts due and owing to the agency within 30 days after the request; refuse or intentionally fail to account to its clients for all money collected within 30 days from the last day of the month in which the same is collected; or, refuse or fail to furnish at intervals of not less than 90 days upon written request of the claimant or forwarder, a written report upon claims received from the claimant or forwarder;
(9) operate under a name or in a manner which implies that the agency is a branch of or associated with any department of federal, state, county or local government or an agency thereof;
(10) commingle money collected for a customer with the agency's operating funds or use any part of a customer's money in the conduct of the agency's business;
(11) transact business or hold itself out as a debt prorater, debt adjuster, or any person who settles, adjusts, prorates, pools, liquidates or pays the indebtedness of a debtor, unless there is no charge to the debtor, or the pooling or liquidation is done pursuant to court order or under the supervision of a creditor's committee;
(12) violate any of the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977, Public Law 95-109, while attempting to collect on any account, bill or other indebtedness;
(13) communicate with a debtor by use of a recorded message utilizing an automatic dialing announcing device unless the recorded message is immediately preceded by a live operator who discloses prior to the message the name of the collection agency and the fact the message intends to solicit payment and the operator obtains the consent of the debtor to hearing the message;
(14) in collection letters or publications, or in any communication, oral or written, imply or suggest that health care services will be withheld in an emergency situation;
(15) when a debtor has a listed telephone number, enlist the aid of a neighbor or third party to request that the debtor contact the licensee or collector, except a person who resides with the debtor or a third party with whom the debtor has authorized the licensee or collector to place the request. This clause does not apply to a call back message left at the debtor's place of employment which is limited to the licensee's or collector's telephone number and name;
(16) when attempting to collect a debt, fail to provide the debtor with the full name of the collection agency as it appears on its license;
(17) collect any money from a debtor that is not reported to a creditor or
fail to return any amount of overpayment from a debtor to the debtor or to the state of Minnesota pursuant to the requirements of chapter 345;
(18) accept currency or coin as payment for a debt without issuing an original receipt to the debtor and maintaining a duplicate receipt in the debtor's payment records;
(19) attempt to collect any amount of money from a debtor or
charge a fee to a creditor that is not authorized by agreement with the client;
(20) falsify any collection agency documents with the intent to deceive a debtor, creditor, or governmental agency;
(21) when initially contacting a Minnesota debtor by mail, fail to include a disclosure on the contact notice, in a type size or font which is equal to or larger than the largest other type of type size or font used in the text of the notice. The disclosure must state: "This collection agency is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce"; or
(22) commence legal action to collect a debt outside the limitations period set forth in section 541.053.
The collection agency licensee shall notify the commissioner of any employee termination within ten days of the termination if it is in whole or in part based on a violation of this chapter.
For the purpose of any investigation or proceeding under sections 332.31 to 332.44, the commissioner or any person designated by the commissioner may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena collection agencies or collectors and compel their attendance, take evidence and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, agreements or other documents or records which the commissioner deems relevant or material to the inquiry. The subpoena shall contain a written statement setting forth the circumstances which have reasonably caused the commissioner to believe that a violation of sections 332.31 to 332.44 may have occurred.
In the event that the collection agency or collector refuses to obey the subpoena, or should the commissioner, upon completion of the examination of the collection agency or collector, reasonably conclude that a violation has occurred, the commissioner may examine additional witnesses, including third parties, as may be necessary to complete the investigation.
Any subpoena issued pursuant to this section shall be served by certified mail or by personal service. Service shall be made at least 15 days prior to the date of appearance.
The commissioner of commerce may at any time require a collection agency licensee to submit a verified financial statement for examination by the commissioner to determine whether the collection agency licensee is financially responsible to carry on a collection agency business within the intents and purposes of sections 332.31 to 332.44.
The commissioner shall require the collection agency licensee to keep such books and records in the licensee's place of business in this state as will enable the commissioner to determine whether there has been compliance with the provisions of sections 332.31 to 332.44, unless the agency is a foreign corporation duly authorized, admitted, and licensed to do business in this state and complies with all the requirements of chapter 303 and with all other requirements of sections 332.31 to 332.44. Every collection agency licensee shall preserve the records of final entry used in such business for a period of five years after final remittance is made on any amount placed with the licensee for collection or after any account has been returned to the claimant on which one or more payments have been made.
No cancellation or reduction in the limits of liability of coverage during the policy period of any policy shall be effective unless notice thereof is given and unless based on one or more reasons stated in the policy which shall be limited to the following:
1. nonpayment of premium; or
2. the policy was obtained through a material misrepresentation; or
3. any insured made a false or fraudulent claim or knowingly aided or abetted another in the presentation of such a claim; or
4. the named insured failed to disclose fully motor vehicle accidents and moving traffic violations of the named insured for the preceding 36 months if called for in the written application; or
5. the named insured failed to disclose in the written application any requested information necessary for the acceptance or proper rating of the risk; or
6. the named insured knowingly failed to give any required written notice of loss or notice of lawsuit commenced against the named insured, or, when requested, refused to cooperate in the investigation of a claim or defense of a lawsuit; or
7. the named insured or any other operator who either resides in the same household, or customarily operates an automobile insured under such policy, unless the other operator is identified as a named insured in another policy as an insured:
(a) has, within the 36 months prior to the notice of cancellation, had that person's driver's license under suspension or revocation because the person committed a moving traffic violation or because the person refused to be tested under section 169A.20, subdivision 1; or
(b) is or becomes subject to epilepsy or heart attacks, and such individual does not produce a written opinion from a physician testifying to that person's medical ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, such opinion to be based upon a reasonable medical probability; or
(c) has an accident record, conviction record (criminal or traffic), physical condition or mental condition, any one or all of which are such that the person's operation of an automobile might endanger the public safety; or
(d) has been convicted, or forfeited bail, during the 24 months immediately preceding the notice of cancellation for criminal negligence in the use or operation of an automobile, or assault arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle, or operating a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition or while under the influence of drugs; or leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to report; or making false statements in an application for a driver's license, or theft or unlawful taking of a motor vehicle; or
(e) has been convicted of, or forfeited bail for, one or more violations within the 18 months immediately preceding the notice of cancellation, of any law, ordinance, or rule which justify a revocation of a driver's license; or
8. the insured automobile is:
(a) so mechanically defective that its operation might endanger public safety; or
(b) used in carrying passengers for hire or compensation, provided however that the use of an automobile for a car pool shall not be considered use of an automobile for hire or compensation; or
(c) used in the business of transportation of flammables or explosives; or
(d) an authorized emergency vehicle; or
(e) subject to an inspection law and has not been inspected or, if inspected, has failed to qualify within the period specified under such inspection law; or
(f) substantially changed in type or condition during the policy period, increasing the risk substantially, such as conversion to a commercial type vehicle, a dragster, sports car or so as to give clear evidence of a use other than the original use.
"Commercial vehicle" means:
(a) any motor vehicle used as a common carrier,
(b) any motor vehicle, other than a passenger vehicle defined in section 168.002, subdivision 24, which has a curb weight in excess of 5,500 pounds apart from cargo capacity, or
(c) any motor vehicle while used in the for-hire transportation of property.
Commercial vehicle does not include a "commuter van," which for purposes of this chapter shall mean a motor vehicle having a capacity of seven to 16 persons which is used principally to provide prearranged transportation of persons to or from their place of employment or to or from a transit stop authorized by a local transit authority which vehicle is to be operated by a person who does not drive the vehicle as a principal occupation but is driving it only to or from the principal place of employment, to or from a transit stop authorized by a local transit authority or for personal use as permitted by the owner of the vehicle.
(a) Unless a different meaning is expressly made applicable, the terms defined in paragraphs (b) through (g) have the meanings given them for the purposes of this chapter.
(b) A "digital network" means any online-enabled application, software, website, or system offered or utilized by a transportation network company that enables the prearrangement of rides with transportation network company drivers.
(c) A "personal vehicle" means a vehicle that is used by a transportation network company driver in connection with providing a prearranged ride and is:
(1) owned, leased, or otherwise authorized for use by the transportation network company driver; and
(2) not a taxicab, limousine, or for-hire vehicle.
(d) A "prearranged ride" means the provision of transportation by a driver to a rider, beginning when a driver accepts a ride requested by a rider through a digital network controlled by a transportation network company, continuing while the driver transports a requesting rider, and ending when the last requesting rider departs from the personal vehicle. A prearranged ride does not include transportation provided using a taxicab, limousine, or other for-hire vehicle.
(e) A "transportation network company" means a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity that is operating in Minnesota that uses a digital network to connect transportation network company riders to transportation network company drivers who provide prearranged rides.
(f) A "transportation network company driver" or "driver" means an individual who:
(1) receives connections to potential riders and related services from a transportation network company in exchange for payment of a fee to the transportation network company; and
(2) uses a personal vehicle to provide a prearranged ride to riders upon connection through a digital network controlled by a transportation network company in return for compensation or payment of a fee.
(g) A "transportation network company rider" or "rider" means an individual or persons who use a transportation network company's digital network to connect with a transportation network driver who provides prearranged rides to the rider in the driver's personal vehicle between points chosen by the rider.
For the purpose of sections 174.29 and 174.30 "special transportation service" means motor vehicle transportation provided on a regular basis by a public or private entity or person that is designed exclusively or primarily to serve individuals who are elderly or disabled and who are unable to use regular means of transportation but do not require ambulance service, as defined in section 144E.001, subdivision 3. Special transportation service includes but is not limited to service provided by specially equipped buses, vans, taxis, and volunteers driving private automobiles. Special transportation service also means those nonemergency medical transportation services under section 256B.0625, subdivision 17, that are subject to the operating standards for special transportation service under sections 174.29 to 174.30 and Minnesota Rules, chapter 8840.
(a) The operating standards for special transportation service adopted under this section do not apply to special transportation provided by:
(2) a volunteer driver using a private automobile;
(3) a school bus as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 71; or
(4) an emergency ambulance regulated under chapter 144.
(b) The operating standards adopted under this section only apply to providers of special transportation service who receive grants or other financial assistance from either the state or the federal government, or both, to provide or assist in providing that service; except that the operating standards adopted under this section do not apply to any nursing home licensed under section 144A.02, to any board and care facility licensed under section 144.50, or to any day training and habilitation services, day care, or group home facility licensed under sections 245A.01 to 245A.19 unless the facility or program provides transportation to nonresidents on a regular basis and the facility receives reimbursement, other than per diem payments, for that service under rules promulgated by the commissioner of human services.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), the operating standards adopted under this section do not apply to any vendor of services licensed under chapter 245D that provides transportation services to consumers or residents of other vendors licensed under chapter 245D and transports 15 or fewer persons, including consumers or residents and the driver.
(a) Providers of special transportation service regulated under this section must initiate background studies in accordance with chapter 245C on the following individuals:
(1) each person with a direct or indirect ownership interest of five percent or higher in the transportation service provider;
(2) each controlling individual as defined under section 245A.02;
(3) managerial officials as defined in section 245A.02;
(4) each driver employed by the transportation service provider;
(5) each individual employed by the transportation service provider to assist a passenger during transport; and
(6) all employees of the transportation service agency who provide administrative support, including those who:
(i) may have face-to-face contact with or access to passengers, their personal property, or their private data;
(ii) perform any scheduling or dispatching tasks; or
(iii) perform any billing activities.
(b) The transportation service provider must initiate the background studies required under paragraph (a) using the online NETStudy system operated by the commissioner of human services.
(c) The transportation service provider shall not permit any individual to provide any service or function listed in paragraph (a) until the transportation service provider has received notification from the commissioner of human services indicating that the individual:
(1) is not disqualified under chapter 245C; or
(d) When a local or contracted agency is authorizing a ride under section 256B.0625, subdivision 17, by a volunteer driver, and the agency authorizing the ride has reason to believe the volunteer driver has a history that would disqualify the individual or that may pose a risk to the health or safety of passengers, the agency may initiate a background study to be completed according to chapter 245C using the commissioner of human services' online NETStudy system, or through contacting the Department of Human Services background study division for assistance. The agency that initiates the background study under this paragraph shall be responsible for providing the volunteer driver with the privacy notice required under section 245C.05, subdivision 2c, and payment for the background study required under section 245C.10, subdivision 11, before the background study is completed.
(a) A person who transports passengers for hire in intrastate commerce, who is not made subject to the rules adopted in section 221.0314 by any other provision of this section, must comply with the rules for hours of service of drivers while transporting employees of an employer who is directly or indirectly paying the cost of the transportation.
(b) This subdivision does not apply to:
(1) a local transit commission;
(2) a transit authority created by law; or
(3) persons providing transportation:
(i) in a school bus as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 71;
(ii) in a Head Start bus as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 34;
(iii) in a commuter van;
(iv) in an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 3;
(v) in special transportation service certified by the commissioner under section 174.30;
(vi) that is special transportation service as defined in section 174.29, subdivision 1, when provided by a volunteer driver operating a private passenger vehicle as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 52;
(vii) in a limousine the service of which is licensed by the commissioner under section 221.84; or
(viii) in a taxicab, if the fare for the transportation is determined by a meter inside the taxicab that measures the distance traveled and displays the fare accumulated.
(a) "Nonemergency medical transportation service" means motor vehicle transportation provided by a public or private person that serves Minnesota health care program beneficiaries who do not require emergency ambulance service, as defined in section 144E.001, subdivision 3, to obtain covered medical services.
(b) Medical assistance covers medical transportation costs incurred solely for obtaining emergency medical care or transportation costs incurred by eligible persons in obtaining emergency or nonemergency medical care when paid directly to an ambulance company, nonemergency medical transportation company, or other recognized providers of transportation services. Medical transportation must be provided by:
(1) nonemergency medical transportation providers who meet the requirements of this subdivision;
(2) ambulances, as defined in section 144E.001, subdivision 2;
(3) taxicabs that meet the requirements of this subdivision;
(4) public transit, as defined in section 174.22, subdivision 7; or
(5) not-for-hire vehicles, including volunteer drivers.
(c) Medical assistance covers nonemergency medical transportation provided by nonemergency medical transportation providers enrolled in the Minnesota health care programs. All nonemergency medical transportation providers must comply with the operating standards for special transportation service as defined in sections 174.29 to 174.30 and Minnesota Rules, chapter 8840, and all drivers must be individually enrolled with the commissioner and reported on the claim as the individual who provided the service. All nonemergency medical transportation providers shall bill for nonemergency medical transportation services in accordance with Minnesota health care programs criteria. Publicly operated transit systems, volunteers, and not-for-hire vehicles are exempt from the requirements outlined in this paragraph.
(d) An organization may be terminated, denied, or suspended from enrollment if:
(1) the provider has not initiated background studies on the individuals specified in section 174.30, subdivision 10, paragraph (a), clauses (1) to (3); or
(2) the provider has initiated background studies on the individuals specified in section 174.30, subdivision 10, paragraph (a), clauses (1) to (3), and:
(i) the commissioner has sent the provider a notice that the individual has been disqualified under section 245C.14; and
(e) The administrative agency of nonemergency medical transportation must:
(1) adhere to the policies defined by the commissioner in consultation with the Nonemergency Medical Transportation Advisory Committee;
(2) pay nonemergency medical transportation providers for services provided to Minnesota health care programs beneficiaries to obtain covered medical services;
(3) provide data monthly to the commissioner on appeals, complaints, no-shows, canceled trips, and number of trips by mode; and
(4) by July 1, 2016, in accordance with subdivision 18e, utilize a web-based single administrative structure assessment tool that meets the technical requirements established by the commissioner, reconciles trip information with claims being submitted by providers, and ensures prompt payment for nonemergency medical transportation services.
(f) Until the commissioner implements the single administrative structure and delivery system under subdivision 18e, clients shall obtain their level-of-service certificate from the commissioner or an entity approved by the commissioner that does not dispatch rides for clients using modes of transportation under paragraph (i), clauses (4), (5), (6), and (7).
(g) The commissioner may use an order by the recipient's attending physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or a medical or mental health professional to certify that the recipient requires nonemergency medical transportation services. Nonemergency medical transportation providers shall perform driver-assisted services for eligible individuals, when appropriate. Driver-assisted service includes passenger pickup at and return to the individual's residence or place of business, assistance with admittance of the individual to the medical facility, and assistance in passenger securement or in securing of wheelchairs, child seats, or stretchers in the vehicle.
Nonemergency medical transportation providers must take clients to the health care provider using the most direct route, and must not exceed 30 miles for a trip to a primary care provider or 60 miles for a trip to a specialty care provider, unless the client receives authorization from the local agency.
Nonemergency medical transportation providers may not bill for separate base rates for the continuation of a trip beyond the original destination. Nonemergency medical transportation providers must maintain trip logs, which include pickup and drop-off times, signed by the medical provider or client, whichever is deemed most appropriate, attesting to mileage traveled to obtain covered medical services. Clients requesting client mileage reimbursement must sign the trip log attesting mileage traveled to obtain covered medical services.
(h) The administrative agency shall use the level of service process established by the commissioner in consultation with the Nonemergency Medical Transportation Advisory Committee to determine the client's most appropriate mode of transportation. If public transit or a certified transportation provider is not available to provide the appropriate service mode for the client, the client may receive a onetime service upgrade.
(i) The covered modes of transportation are:
(1) client reimbursement, which includes client mileage reimbursement provided to clients who have their own transportation, or to family or an acquaintance who provides transportation to the client;
(2) volunteer transport, which includes transportation by volunteers using their own vehicle;
(3) unassisted transport, which includes transportation provided to a client by a taxicab or public transit. If a taxicab or public transit is not available, the client can receive transportation from another nonemergency medical transportation provider;
(4) assisted transport, which includes transport provided to clients who require assistance by a nonemergency medical transportation provider;
(5) lift-equipped/ramp transport, which includes transport provided to a client who is dependent on a device and requires a nonemergency medical transportation provider with a vehicle containing a lift or ramp;
(6) protected transport, which includes transport provided to a client who has received a prescreening that has deemed other forms of transportation inappropriate and who requires a provider: (i) with a protected vehicle that is not an ambulance or police car and has safety locks, a video recorder, and a transparent thermoplastic partition between the passenger and the vehicle driver; and (ii) who is certified as a protected transport provider; and
(7) stretcher transport, which includes transport for a client in a prone or supine position and requires a nonemergency medical transportation provider with a vehicle that can transport a client in a prone or supine position.
(j) The local agency shall be the single administrative agency and shall administer and reimburse for modes defined in paragraph (i) according to paragraphs (m) and (n) when the commissioner has developed, made available, and funded the web-based single administrative structure, assessment tool, and level of need assessment under subdivision 18e. The local agency's financial obligation is limited to funds provided by the state or federal government.
(k) The commissioner shall:
(1) in consultation with the Nonemergency Medical Transportation Advisory Committee, verify that the mode and use of nonemergency medical transportation is appropriate;
(2) verify that the client is going to an approved medical appointment; and
(3) investigate all complaints and appeals.
(l) The administrative agency shall pay for the services provided in this subdivision and seek reimbursement from the commissioner, if appropriate. As vendors of medical care, local agencies are subject to the provisions in section 256B.041, the sanctions and monetary recovery actions in section 256B.064, and Minnesota Rules, parts 9505.2160 to 9505.2245.
(m) Payments for nonemergency medical transportation must be paid based on the client's assessed mode under paragraph (h), not the type of vehicle used to provide the service. The medical assistance reimbursement rates for nonemergency medical transportation services that are payable by or on behalf of the commissioner for nonemergency medical transportation services are:
(1) $0.22 per mile for client reimbursement;
(2) up to 100 percent of the Internal Revenue Service business deduction rate for volunteer transport;
(3) equivalent to the standard fare for unassisted transport when provided by public transit, and $11 for the base rate and $1.30 per mile when provided by a nonemergency medical transportation provider;
(4) $13 for the base rate and $1.30 per mile for assisted transport;
(5) $18 for the base rate and $1.55 per mile for lift-equipped/ramp transport;
(6) $75 for the base rate and $2.40 per mile for protected transport; and
(7) $60 for the base rate and $2.40 per mile for stretcher transport, and $9 per trip for an additional attendant if deemed medically necessary.
(n) The base rate for nonemergency medical transportation services in areas defined under RUCA to be super rural is equal to 111.3 percent of the respective base rate in paragraph (m), clauses (1) to (7). The mileage rate for nonemergency medical transportation services in areas defined under RUCA to be rural or super rural areas is:
(1) for a trip equal to 17 miles or less, equal to 125 percent of the respective mileage rate in paragraph (m), clauses (1) to (7); and
(2) for a trip between 18 and 50 miles, equal to 112.5 percent of the respective mileage rate in paragraph (m), clauses (1) to (7).
(o) For purposes of reimbursement rates for nonemergency medical transportation services under paragraphs (m) and (n), the zip code of the recipient's place of residence shall determine whether the urban, rural, or super rural reimbursement rate applies.
(p) For purposes of this subdivision, "rural urban commuting area" or "RUCA" means a census-tract based classification system under which a geographical area is determined to be urban, rural, or super rural.
(q) The commissioner, when determining reimbursement rates for nonemergency medical transportation under paragraphs (m) and (n), shall exempt all modes of transportation listed under paragraph (i) from Minnesota Rules, part 9505.0445, item R, subitem (2).
(a) For purposes of this section, the terms defined in this subdivision have the meanings given.
(b) "Law enforcement agency" or "agency" means a duly authorized municipal, county, state, or federal law enforcement agency.
(c) "Person" means an individual, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity.
(d) "Scrap metal" means:
(1) wire and cable commonly and customarily used by communication and electric utilities; and
(2) copper, aluminum, or any other metal purchased primarily for its reuse or recycling value as raw metal, including metal that is combined with other materials at the time of purchase, but does not include a scrap vehicle as defined in section 168A.1501, subdivision 1.
(e) "Scrap metal dealer" or "dealer" means a person engaged in the business of buying or selling scrap metal, or both.
The terms do not include a person engaged exclusively in the business of buying or selling new or used motor vehicles, paper or wood products, rags or furniture, or secondhand machinery.
(f) "Seller" means any seller, prospective seller, or agent of the seller.
(g) "Proof of identification" means a driver's license, Minnesota identification card number, or other identification document issued for identification purposes by any state, federal, or foreign government if the document includes the person's photograph, full name, birth date, and signature.
(a) Every scrap metal dealer, including an agent, employee, or representative of the dealer, shall create a permanent record written in English, using an electronic record program at the time of each purchase or acquisition of scrap metal. The record must include:
(1) a complete and accurate account or description, including the weight if customarily purchased by weight, of the scrap metal purchased or acquired;
(2) the date, time, and place of the receipt of the scrap metal purchased or acquired and a unique transaction identifier;
(3) a photocopy or electronic scan of the seller's proof of identification including the identification number;
(4) the amount paid and the number of the check or electronic transfer used to purchase the scrap metal;
(5) the license plate number and description of the vehicle used by the person when delivering the scrap metal, including the vehicle make and model, and any identifying marks on the vehicle, such as a business name, decals, or markings, if applicable;
(6) a statement signed by the seller, under penalty of perjury as provided in section 609.48, attesting that the scrap metal is not stolen and is free of any liens or encumbrances and the seller has the right to sell it; and
(7) a copy of the receipt, which must include at least the following information: the name and address of the dealer, the date and time the scrap metal was received by the dealer, an accurate description of the scrap metal, and the amount paid for the scrap metal.
(b) The record, as well as the scrap metal purchased or received, shall at all reasonable times be open to the inspection of any properly identified law enforcement officer.
(c) No record is required for property purchased from merchants, manufacturers, salvage pools, insurance companies, rental car companies, financial institutions, charities, dealers licensed under section 168.27, or wholesale dealers, having an established place of business, or of any goods purchased at open sale from any bankrupt stock, but a receipt as required under paragraph (a), clause (7), shall be obtained and kept by the person, which must be shown upon demand to any properly identified law enforcement officer.
(d) The dealer must provide a copy of the receipt required under paragraph (a), clause (7), to the seller in every transaction.
(e) Law enforcement agencies in the jurisdiction where a dealer is located may conduct regular and routine inspections to ensure compliance, refer violations to the city or county attorney for criminal prosecution, and notify the registrar of motor vehicles.
(f) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a scrap metal dealer or the dealer's agent, employee, or representative may not disclose personal information concerning a customer without the customer's consent unless the disclosure is required by law or made in response to a request from a law enforcement agency. A scrap metal dealer must implement reasonable safeguards to protect the security of the personal information and prevent unauthorized access to or disclosure of the information. For purposes of this paragraph, "personal information" is any individually identifiable information gathered in connection with a record under paragraph (a).
Upon default, the owner shall mail notice of default as provided under section 514.974. The owner may deny the occupant access to the personal property contained in the self-service storage facility after default, service of the notice of default, expiration of the date stated for denial of access, and application of any security deposit to unpaid rent. The notice of default must state the date that the occupant will be denied access to the occupant's personal property in the self-service storage facility and that access will be denied until the owner's claim has been satisfied. The notice of default must state that any dispute regarding denial of access can be raised by the occupant beginning legal action in court. Notice of default must further state the rights of the occupant contained in subdivision 5.
The occupant may remove from the self-service storage facility personal papers, health aids, personal clothing of the occupant and the occupant's dependents, and personal property that is necessary for the livelihood of the occupant, that has a market value of less than $50 per item, if demand is made to any of the persons listed in section 514.976, subdivision 1. The occupant shall present a list of the items, and may remove them during the facility's ordinary business hours prior to the sale authorized by section 514.973. If the owner unjustifiably denies the occupant access for the purpose of removing the items specified in this subdivision, the occupant is entitled to an order allowing access to the storage unit for removal of the specified items. The self-service storage facility is liable to the occupant for the costs, disbursements and attorney fees expended by the occupant to obtain this order.
The notice must include:
(1) a statement of the amount owed for rent and other charges and demand for payment within a specified time not less than 14 days after delivery of the notice;
(2) pursuant to section 514.972, subdivision 4, a notice of denial of access to the storage space, if this denial is permitted under the terms of the rental agreement;
(3) the name, street address, and telephone number of the owner, or of the owner's designated agent, whom the occupant may contact to respond to the notice;
(4) a conspicuous statement that unless the claim is paid within the time stated in the notice, the personal property will be advertised for sale. The notice must specify the time and place of the sale; and
(5) a conspicuous statement of the items that the occupant may remove without charge pursuant to section 514.972, subdivision 5, if the occupant is denied general access to the storage space.
(a) A sale of personal property may take place no sooner than 45 days after default or, if the personal property is a motor vehicle or watercraft, no sooner than 60 days after default.
(b) After the expiration of the time given in the notice, the sale must be published once a week for two weeks consecutively in a newspaper of general circulation where the sale is to be held. The sale may take place no sooner than 15 days after the first publication. If the lien is satisfied before the second publication occurs, the second publication is waived. If there is no qualified newspaper under chapter 331A where the sale is to be held, the advertisement may be posted on an independent, publicly accessible website that advertises self-storage lien sales or public notices. The advertisement must include a description of the goods, the name of the person on whose account the goods are being held, and the time and place of the sale.
(c) A sale of the personal property must conform to the terms of the notification.
(d) A sale of the personal property must be public and must be either:
(1) held via an online auction; or
(2) held at the storage facility, or at the nearest suitable place at which the personal property is held or stored.
Owners shall require all bidders, including online bidders, to register and agree to the rules of the sale.
(e) The sale must be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner. A sale is commercially reasonable if the property is sold in conformity with the practices among dealers in the property sold or sellers of similar distressed property sales.
Notification of the proposed sale of personal property must include a notice of denial of access to the personal property until the owner's claim has been satisfied. Any notice the owner is required to mail to the occupant under sections 514.970 to 514.979 shall be sent to:
(1) the e-mail address, if consented to by the occupant, as provided in section 514.973, subdivision 2;
(2) the mailing address and any alternate mailing address provided by the occupant in the rental agreement; or
(3) the last known mailing address of the occupant, if the last known mailing address differs from the mailing address listed by the occupant in the rental agreement and the owner has reason to believe that the last known mailing address is more current.
If an occupant defaults in the payment of rent or otherwise breaches the rental agreement, the owner may commence an eviction action under chapter 504B.
(a) As used in this section, an abandoned underground petroleum storage tank means an underground petroleum storage tank that was:
(1) taken out of service prior to December 22, 1988; or
(2) taken out of service on or after December 22, 1988, if the current property owner did not know of the existence of the underground petroleum storage tank and could not have reasonably been expected to have known of the tank's existence at the time the owner first acquired right, title, or interest in the tank.
(b) The board may contract for:
(1) a statewide assessment in order to determine the quantity, location, cost, and feasibility of removing abandoned underground petroleum storage tanks;
(2) the removal of an abandoned underground petroleum storage tank; and
(3) the removal and disposal of petroleum-contaminated soil if the removal is required by the commissioner at the time of tank removal.
(c) Before the board may contract for removal of an abandoned petroleum storage tank, the tank owner must provide the board with written access to the property and release the board from any potential liability for the work performed.
(d) Money in the fund is appropriated to the board for the purposes of this section.
(a) An electric cooperative has the power and authority to:
(1) make loans to its members;
(2) prerefund debt;
(3) obtain funds through negotiated financing or public sale;
(4) borrow money and issue its bonds, debentures, notes, or other evidence of indebtedness;
(5) mortgage, pledge, or otherwise hypothecate its assets as may be necessary;
(6) invest its resources;
(7) deposit money in state and national banks and trust companies authorized to receive deposits; and
(8) exercise all other powers and authorities granted to cooperatives.
(b) A cooperative organized to provide rural electric power may enter agreements and contracts with other electric power cooperatives or with a cooperative constituted of electric power cooperatives to share losses and risk of losses to their transmission and distribution lines, transformers, substations, and related appurtenances from storm, sleet, hail, tornado, cyclone, hurricane, or windstorm. An agreement or contract or a cooperative formed to share losses under this paragraph is not subject to the laws of this state relating to insurance and insurance companies.
The productivity loan account is a special account in the state treasury. Money in the account is appropriated to the commissioner of administration to make loans to finance agency projects that will result in either reduced operating costs or increased revenues, or both, for a state agency.
The Productivity Loan Committee consists of the commissioners of administration, management and budget, and revenue. The commissioner of administration serves as chair of the committee. The members serve without compensation or reimbursement for expenses.
An agency shall apply for a loan on a form provided by the commissioner of administration.
The committee shall review applications for loans and shall award a loan based upon criteria adopted by the committee. The committee shall determine the amount, interest, and other terms of the loan. The time for repayment of a loan may not exceed five years.
An agency receiving a loan under this section shall repay the loan according to the terms of the loan agreement. The principal and interest must be paid to the commissioner of administration who shall deposit it in the productivity loan fund.
(a) The utility subject to section 116C.779 shall operate a program to provide solar energy production incentives for solar energy systems of no more than a total aggregate nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts alternating current per premise. The owner of a solar energy system installed before June 1, 2018, is eligible to receive a production incentive under this section for any additional solar energy systems constructed at the same customer location, provided that the aggregate capacity of all systems at the customer location does not exceed 40 kilowatts.
(b) The program is funded by money withheld from transfer to the renewable development account under section 116C.779, subdivision 1, paragraphs (b) and (e). Program funds must be placed in a separate account for the purpose of the solar energy production incentive program operated by the utility and not for any other program or purpose.
(c) Funds allocated to the solar energy production incentive program in 2019 and 2020 remain available to the solar energy production incentive program.
(d) The following amounts are allocated to the solar energy production incentive program:
(1) $10,000,000 in 2021; and
(2) $10,000,000 in 2022
(e) Funds allocated to the solar energy production incentive program that have not been committed to a specific project at the end of a program year remain available to the solar energy production incentive program.
(f) Any unspent amount remaining on January 1, 2023, must be transferred to the renewable development account.
(g) A solar energy system receiving a production incentive under this section must be sized to less than 120 percent of the customer's on-site annual energy consumption when combined with other distributed generation resources and subscriptions provided under section 216B.1641 associated with the premise. The production incentive must be paid for ten years commencing with the commissioning of the system.
(h) The utility must file a plan to operate the program with the commissioner of commerce. The utility may not operate the program until it is approved by the commissioner. A change to the program to include projects up to a nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts or less does not require the utility to file a plan with the commissioner. Any plan approved by the commissioner of commerce must not provide an increased incentive scale over prior years unless the commissioner demonstrates that changes in the market for solar energy facilities require an increase.
(a) The terms used in this section have the meanings given them in this subdivision.
(b) "Cold weather period" means the period from October 15 through April 15 of the following year.
(c) "Customer" means a residential customer of a utility.
(d) "Disconnection" means the involuntary loss of utility heating service as a result of a physical act by a utility to discontinue service. Disconnection includes installation of a service or load limiter or any device that limits or interrupts utility service in any way.
(e) "Household income" means the combined income, as defined in section 290A.03, subdivision 3, of all residents of the customer's household, computed on an annual basis. Household income does not include any amount received for energy assistance.
(f) "Reasonably timely payment" means payment within five working days of agreed-upon due dates.
(g) "Reconnection" means the restoration of utility heating service after it has been disconnected.
(h) "Summary of rights and responsibilities" means a commission-approved notice that contains, at a minimum, the following:
(1) an explanation of the provisions of subdivision 5;
(2) an explanation of no-cost and low-cost methods to reduce the consumption of energy;
(3) a third-party notice;
(4) ways to avoid disconnection;
(5) information regarding payment agreements;
(6) an explanation of the customer's right to appeal a determination of income by the utility and the right to appeal if the utility and the customer cannot arrive at a mutually acceptable payment agreement; and
(7) a list of names and telephone numbers for county and local energy assistance and weatherization providers in each county served by the utility.
(i) "Third-party notice" means a commission-approved notice containing, at a minimum, the following information:
(1) a statement that the utility will send a copy of any future notice of proposed disconnection of utility heating service to a third party designated by the residential customer;
(2) instructions on how to request this service; and
(3) a statement that the residential customer should contact the person the customer intends to designate as the third-party contact before providing the utility with the party's name.
(j) "Utility" means a public utility as defined in section 216B.02, and a cooperative electric association electing to be a public utility under section 216B.026. Utility also means a municipally owned gas or electric utility for nonresident consumers of the municipally owned utility and a cooperative electric association when a complaint in connection with utility heating service during the cold weather period is filed under section 216B.17, subdivision 6 or 6a.
(k) "Utility heating service" means natural gas or electricity used as a primary heating source, including electricity service necessary to operate gas heating equipment, for the customer's primary residence.
(l) "Working days" means Mondays through Fridays, excluding legal holidays. The day of receipt of a personally served notice and the day of mailing of a notice shall not be counted in calculating working days.
Each year, between September 1 and October 15, each utility must provide all customers, personally, by first class mail, or electronically for those requesting electronic billing, a summary of rights and responsibilities. The summary must also be provided to all new residential customers when service is initiated.
(a) A municipal utility or a cooperative electric association must not disconnect and must reconnect the utility service of a residential customer during the period between October 15 and April 15 if the disconnection affects the primary heat source for the residential unit and all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The household income of the customer is at or below 50 percent of the state median household income. A municipal utility or cooperative electric association utility may (i) verify income on forms it provides or (ii) obtain verification of income from the local energy assistance provider. A customer is deemed to meet the income requirements of this clause if the customer receives any form of public assistance, including energy assistance, that uses an income eligibility threshold set at or below 50 percent of the state median household income.
(2) A customer enters into and makes reasonably timely payments under a payment agreement that considers the financial resources of the household.
(3) A customer receives referrals to energy assistance, weatherization, conservation, or other programs likely to reduce the customer's energy bills.
(b) A municipal utility or a cooperative electric association must, between August 15 and October 15 each year, notify all residential customers of the provisions of this section.
Before disconnecting service to a residential customer during the period between October 15 and April 15, a municipal utility or cooperative electric association must provide the following information to a customer:
(1) a notice of proposed disconnection;
(2) a statement explaining the customer's rights and responsibilities;
(3) a list of local energy assistance providers;
(4) forms on which to declare inability to pay; and
(5) a statement explaining available time payment plans and other opportunities to secure continued utility service.
(a) If a residential customer must be involuntarily disconnected between October 15 and April 15 for failure to comply with subdivision 1, the disconnection must not occur:
(1) on a Friday, unless the customer declines to enter into a payment agreement offered that day in person or via personal contact by telephone by a municipal utility or cooperative electric association;
(2) on a weekend, holiday, or the day before a holiday;
(3) when utility offices are closed; or
(4) after the close of business on a day when disconnection is permitted, unless a field representative of a municipal utility or cooperative electric association who is authorized to enter into a payment agreement, accept payment, and continue service, offers a payment agreement to the customer.
Further, the disconnection must not occur until at least 20 days after the notice required in subdivision 2 has been mailed to the customer or 15 days after the notice has been personally delivered to the customer.
(b) If a customer does not respond to a disconnection notice, The customer must not be disconnected until the utility investigates whether the residential unit is actually occupied. If the unit is found to be occupied, the utility must immediately inform the occupant of the provisions of this section. If the unit is unoccupied, the utility must give seven days' written notice of the proposed disconnection to the local energy assistance provider before making a disconnection.
(c) If, prior to disconnection, a customer appeals a notice of involuntary disconnection, as provided by the utility's established appeal procedure, the utility must not disconnect until the appeal is resolved.
Notwithstanding section 13.685 or any other law or administrative rule to the contrary, a public utility, cooperative electric association, or municipal utility must provide notice to a statutory city or home rule charter city, as prescribed by this section, of disconnection of a customer's gas or electric service. Upon written request from a city, on October 15 and November 1 of each year, or the next business day if that date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, a report must be made available to the city of the address of properties currently disconnected and the date of the disconnection. Upon written request from a city, between October 15 and April 15, daily reports must be made available of the address and date of any newly disconnected properties.
A city provided notice under this section must provide the information on disconnection to the police and fire departments of the city within three business days of receipt of the notice.
For the purpose of this section, "disconnection" means a cessation of services initiated by the public utility, cooperative electric association, or municipal utility that affects the primary heat source of a residence and service is not reconnected within 24 hours.
Data on customers that are provided to cities under subdivision 1 are private data on individuals or nonpublic data, as defined in section 13.02.
(a) In addition to the requirements of subdivisions 2a and 2b, each public utility shall generate or procure sufficient electricity generated by solar energy to serve its retail electricity customers in Minnesota so that by the end of 2020, at least 1.5 percent of the utility's total retail electric sales to retail customers in Minnesota is generated by solar energy.
(b) For a public utility with more than 200,000 retail electric customers, at least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal must be met by solar energy generated by or procured from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts or less.
(c) A public utility with between 50,000 and 200,000 retail electric customers:
(1) must meet at least ten percent of the 1.5 percent goal with solar energy generated by or procured from solar photovoltaic devices with a nameplate capacity of 40 kilowatts or less; and
(2) may apply toward the ten percent goal in clause (1) individual customer subscriptions of 40 kilowatts or less to a community solar garden program operated by the public utility that has been approved by the commission.
(d) The solar energy standard established in this subdivision is subject to all the provisions of this section governing a utility's standard obligation under subdivision 2a.
(e) It is an energy goal of the state of Minnesota that, by 2030, ten percent of the retail electric sales in Minnesota be generated by solar energy.
(f) For the purposes of calculating the total retail electric sales of a public utility under this subdivision, there shall be excluded retail electric sales to customers that are:
(1) an iron mining extraction and processing facility, including a scram mining facility as defined in Minnesota Rules, part 6130.0100, subpart 16; or
(2) a paper mill, wood products manufacturer, sawmill, or oriented strand board manufacturer.
Those customers may not have included in the rates charged to them by the public utility any costs of satisfying the solar standard specified by this subdivision.
(g) A public utility may not use energy used to satisfy the solar energy standard under this subdivision to satisfy its standard obligation under subdivision 2a. A public utility may not use energy used to satisfy the standard obligation under subdivision 2a to satisfy the solar standard under this subdivision.
(h) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a solar renewable energy credit associated with a solar photovoltaic device installed and generating electricity in Minnesota after August 1, 2013, but before 2020 may be used to meet the solar energy standard established under this subdivision.
(i) Beginning July 1, 2014, and each July 1 through 2020, each public utility shall file a report with the commission reporting its progress in achieving the solar energy standard established under this subdivision.
The commission shall allow one or more rate-regulated utilities to participate in a pilot program to assess the merits of a rate-decoupling strategy to promote energy efficiency and conservation. Each pilot program must utilize the criteria and standards established in subdivision 2 and be designed to determine whether a rate-decoupling strategy achieves energy savings. On or before a date established by the commission, the commission shall require electric and gas utilities that intend to implement a decoupling program to file a decoupling pilot plan, which shall be approved or approved as modified by the commission. A pilot program may not exceed three years in length. Any extension beyond three years can only be approved in a general rate case, unless that decoupling program was previously approved as part of a general rate case. The commission shall report on the programs annually to the chairs of the house of representatives and senate committees with primary jurisdiction over energy policy.
In addition to other assessments in subdivision 3, the department may assess up to $500,000 per fiscal year for performing its duties under section 216A.07, subdivision 3a. The amount in this subdivision shall be assessed to energy utilities in proportion to their respective gross operating revenues from retail sales of gas or electric service within the state during the last calendar year and shall be deposited into an account in the special revenue fund and is appropriated to the commissioner of commerce for the purposes of section 216A.07, subdivision 3a. An assessment made under this subdivision is not subject to the cap on assessments provided in subdivision 3 or any other law. For the purpose of this subdivision, an "energy utility" means public utilities, generation and transmission cooperative electric associations, and municipal power agencies providing natural gas or electric service in the state.
This subdivision expires June 30, 2021.
(a) A wind energy conversion system of less than 25 megawatts of nameplate capacity as determined under section 216F.011 is a small wind energy conversion system if, by July 1, 2009, the owner so elects in writing and submits a completed application for zoning approval and the written election to the county or counties in which the project is proposed to be located. The owner must notify the Public Utilities Commission of the election at the time the owner submits the election to the county.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a wind energy conversion system with a nameplate capacity exceeding five megawatts that is proposed to be located wholly or partially within a wind access buffer adjacent to state lands that are part of the outdoor recreation system, as enumerated in section 86A.05, is a large wind energy conversion system. The Department of Natural Resources shall negotiate in good faith with a system owner regarding siting and may support the system owner in seeking a variance from the system setback requirements if it determines that a variance is in the public interest.
(c) The Public Utilities Commission shall issue an annual report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the house of representatives and senate committees with primary jurisdiction over energy policy and natural resource policy regarding any variances applied for and not granted for systems subject to paragraph (b).
Presented to the governor June 24, 2021
Signed by the governor June 26, 2021, 10:53 a.m.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes