Minnesota House passes bill to prevent excessive prices during public emergencies

The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday voted 72-58 to pass a bill with intent to prevent price gouging in “times of emergency,” according to Minnesota Revisor of Statutes records.

Merriam-Webster defines price gouging as “charging customers too much money.”

Rep. Zack Stephenson’s (DFL-Coon Rapids) bill would allow the governor to declare an “abnormal market disruption” during which sellers could not set “unconscionably excessive” prices for essential goods and services. If found in violation of that law, a seller could be financially penalized and investigated by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

View the most recent version of the legislation in the PDF at the bottom of this article.

“During times of crisis, the last thing Minnesotans deserve are bad actors seeking to profit off of the needs and fears of others,” Stephenson said.

House Majority Leader Jamie Long said if the bill makes it through, Minnesota will join 36 other states in prohibiting excessive price hikes to items like food, gas, prescription drugs and hygiene products.

Its companion bill, written by Sen. Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville), is now moving through Senate committees.

Check on the status of other prominent bills with KSTP’s Minnesota Legislative Tracker.