MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Starting this weekend, some things are about to change in Minnesota.
On Saturday, at least a dozen new state laws will take effect.
One law eliminates what’s been a barrier to potentially life-saving drugs.
Minnesotans who are terminally ill, will now have the “right to try” experimental drugs that are not yet approved by the Federal Drug Administration.
Rep. Nick Zerwas is the author of the bill.
“Drugs that are being tested in clinical trials but not yet approved by the FDA have been showing amazing signs of progress,” Zerwas said.
He says he’s lived to see his 34th birthday thanks to the willingness of his doctors to try something different.
Five of his childhood heart surgeries were experimental.
“I never thought — and certainly my parents never thought — I would ever be here,” Zerwas said. “I was born with a heart defect. My parents were told, ‘Seven years. Your child will live to be 7 years old with that heart defect.”
Starting Saturday, the penalty for repeatedly texting while driving will be greater.
The second and subsequent violations of the law will cost you $225. The fine for the first violation is still $50.
Also on Saturday, look for family law reforms. It took lawmakers two years to reach a consensus on them. There are a variety of changes to child custody and visitation standards.
Another new law addresses privacy concerns. It puts limits on license plate readers. Those are electronic devices in police cars that photograph license plates.
The new law extends a temporary rule that makes that information private rather than public, and requires the data to be destroyed after 60 days, unless it’s part of an active criminal investigation.
Minnesota joins about 20 other states that have laws that allow patients the right to try experimental drugs.
Those medications do have to pass the first phase of a clinical trial.