Violating school bus stop arm laws could get more expensive under a bill approved Monday by the House Transportation Finance Committee.
Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City) sponsors HF380 that would raise the minimum fine for failing to stop for a school bus that has activated its flashing lights and stop-arm from $300 to $500. The violation would remain a misdemeanor.
Representing the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association, Tom Keliher told the committee that during a recent one-day survey of Minnesota school bus drivers roughly 500 violations were reported. Urdahl said there are only around 300 convictions per year for violation of school bus stop-arm statutes.
“Raising the fine will, hopefully, raise the awareness,” Keliher said.
The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. A companion, SF2202, sponsored by Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville), awaits action by the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.
A previous version of the bill included language that would have prevented prosecutors and judges from lowering the fine as a part of any plea agreement. That stipulation was dropped over concerns expressed in an earlier committee hearing, Urdahl said.
“We couldn’t get the bill passed with that in there,” he said.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
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It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.