SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Some laws are changed after a slow simmer. But during Minnesota’s March presidential caucuses, traffic backups and long lines brought voters to a boiling point.
And so, on January 1st, Minnesota officially changes from a caucus state to a primary state.
“A lot of people on both the Democratic side and the Republican side said, 'Listen this idea of saying we only have an hour and a half or two hours in the evening is not fair,'” said David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University.
Starting January 1st, Minnesota will become a primary state, meaning voting will take place all day at the same polling places used for general elections.
In doing so, Minnesota will join the majority of states who use primaries. It should also see an increase in voter participation.
“Earlier this year when we had near record turnout in our caucuses, we had about eight or nine percent of our population show up,” Schultz said. “Wisconsin, which does a primary, got about 38 percent.”
Other New Year law changes affect companies providing life insurance and worker compensation insurance for Minnesotans.
Finally, Minnesota will become the first state to ban Triclosan from most consumer products.
Triclosan has been a common ingredient in hand soaps. Its use became suspect after sediment borings in several Minnesota bodies of water turned up Triclosan.
Minnesota passed its ban in 2014 but gave companies time to remove Triclosan from their products.
The federal government followed with a ban of its own, set to take effect in September of 2017.
“The river is resilient, it will heal if we stop harming it,” said Whitney Clark, executive director of Friends of the Mississippi River. “This is one concrete step that we can take to protect the river and I'm proud that we did that in Minnesota.”