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AARP AARP States Minnesota Advocacy

2024 Legislative Report


Fighting for Minnesotans 50+ and Their Families

AARP Minnesota advocates for what is important to our members and Minnesotans aged 50 and over. Alongside a team of dedicated volunteers, AARP Minnesota gives you a voice at the state and federal levels. 

AARP Minnesota volunteers work tirelessly in each legislative session on issues important to our members and Minnesotans aged 50-plus. This year, we urged lawmakers to fight fraud, protect your hard-earned money, help improve driving safety, protect vulnerable adults, and increase affordable housing options for older Minnesotans.

Legislative Wins

Driver Safety Course Length Reduced
Safe driving courses help keep older Minnesotans safe on the road, but course participation numbers have declined. This year, AARP advocated for reducing the rule requiring an eight-hour driver safety course to four-hours to be eligible for the car insurance discount to increase participation and save lives. An independent study comparing course lengths found no significant impact on the amount of knowledge drivers retained and found that drivers were equally as likely to change 19 safe driving behaviors for the better. Minnesota now joins 18 states allowing for the four-hour course without sacrificing content or quality. Volunteer voices are critical in passing legislation, and testimony and advocacy provided by AARP Driver Safety Instructors were vital to our success.

Predatory Real Estate Scams Outlawed
Lawmakers took action to prohibit unfair real estate agreements. These scams occur when brokerage firms prey upon vulnerable homeowners, offering small cash gifts - some as low as $300 - in exchange for decades-long contracts lasting up to 40 years for exclusive property sales rights. As a result, homeowners face huge penalties of 3% of their property value if they want the agreements removed, list their property with another firm, or transfer a property title to a family member upon death, divorce, or foreclosure.

AARP supported this legislation and worked to ensure that Minnesota's Attorney General has the authority to seek restitution from these bad actors and allow individuals to file for damages in court.

Older Homeowners Protected from Losing Equity in their Homes
AARP advocated for a law prohibiting the unconstitutional practice of county governments from not returning the equity in someone's home for failure to pay their property taxes. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, recently held that it is unconstitutional for local governments to take an owner's equity in the case of Tyler versus Hennepin County.

Ms. Tyler fell behind on her condo's property taxes. She owed only $2,311 in property taxes but had almost $13,000 in added penalties, interest, and fees. To collect the $15,000 debt, Hennepin County seized her condo, valued at $93,000, sold it for $40,000, and pocketed it all—a $25,000 windfall at Ms. Tyler's expense.

AARP worked to ease the burden of claiming a homeowner’s equity by extending the timeframe for filing a claim and improved notification requirements helping to protect one's home equity.

Cryptocurrency ATMs Regulated
Criminals are adept at exploiting new technologies to scam consumers. AARP advocated for consumer protections to regulate virtual currency kiosks, also known as cryptocurrency ATMs. The bill protects new customers who are victims of fraud by providing a refund of the total transaction amount as long as they report the fraud within 14 days. It also sets a daily virtual currency transaction limit of $2,000 for new customers and requires operators to post warning signs that scammers may use virtual transactions to defraud consumers.

Cathy McLeer and Mary Jo George recap the 2024 Minnesota Legislative Session.

Continued Work

No Action on Affordable Housing Options
AARP supported a bill that would have eased restrictive zoning requirements, allowing for a mix of housing options such as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). This bill would have helped provide a broader mix of housing options close to jobs, shopping, entertainment, and green spaces, which surveys show is where most older adults prefer. Unfortunately, due to strong opposition from local municipalities, the bill authors pulled the legislation.

Impasse on Protecting Vulnerable Adults in HUD Housing
In 2019, AARP advocated for the Eldercare and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act to combat elder abuse for older Minnesotans in Assisted Living facilities. When passed, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-subsidized facilities and Low-Income Tax Credits (LITC) facilities, including locked dementia units, were exempted. AARP and consumer groups fought to extend protections to vulnerable adults in these facilities. However, negotiations stalled as providers wanted to weaken current Assisted Living termination protections before agreeing to expand residents’ rights.

AARP, consumer groups, and the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care successfully increased mental illness and de-escalation training requirements and defeated legislation that would have reduced RN assessments in Assisted Living facilities, weakening care standards.

Restitution Fund for Victims of Scams and Fraud Stalled
The financial loss resulting from fraud is profound, particularly when victims are older adults at a time in their lives when they are least able to recover financially. AARP supported the Minnesota Attorney General's bill to create a state-level Restitution Fund for victims of scams and fraud. Unfortunately, given the short legislative session and time constraints, lawmakers did not move the bill this year. AARP will pursue this bill in future legislative sessions. The Restitution Fund would be modeled after the Consumer Protection Bureau's Restitution Fund. To be eligible for the fund, the Attorney General would have to bring a case against a defendant as a public enforcement action and obtain an Order from the Court based on the AG's investigation establishing that the person was defrauded.

Give your time and talent — in person or from home — to improve the lives of older Americans and their families. We are looking for volunteers across Minnesota to make a difference in your community.

Contact AARP Minnesota
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