Local elections across Minnesota must be held on one of five dates during the year, says a new state law taking effect today.

Legislators were concerned school board and municipal elections occurring at too many points on the calendar is confusing to voters, and it’s now required that local elections be held either on the second Tuesday in February, April or May, on the same day as the state primary in August, or on general election day in November.

A special election may be on a different date only if it’s in response to an emergency or disaster. School districts can consolidate polling places if it’s a stand-alone election.

Meanwhile, two state laws covering health issues take effect today.

Health plans that cover prescription eye drops are now required to cover refills earlier than the expiration of a 30- or 90-day supply. And orientation for home care workers can now include training on how to interact more effectively with people who are hard-of-hearing.

Experts say age-related hearing loss can lead to depression, increased cases of dementia, hospitalizations and falls — but effects can be lessened by staff trained to deal with communication barriers.