Speed limit violations, online driver’s education training and dollars for organ donation are part of an omnibus transportation policy bill that was passed by the House.
Following the 121-8 vote, the bill awaits Senate action. Sen. Joe Gimse (R-Willmar) is the Senate sponsor.
In part, the bill would prohibit speed limit violations of up to 10 mph over the limit in 55 mph and 60 mph zones from going on a driver’s record. Currently, a ticket does not appear on someone’s driving record if the person was driving up to 10 mph over the speed limit in a 55 mph zone, or 5 mph over the limit in a 60 mph zone.
“Speeding is one of the leading causes of deaths on Minnesota highways,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls), who said the Department of Public Safety is against the provision. “This decreases the consequences of speeding.”
Other provisions in the bill include:
• allowing a person under age 18 to complete the classroom/theory portion of driver’s education online through a program approved by the Department of Public Safety;
• preventing prohibition of electronic-assisted bicycles on any state trail where bikes are allowed, unless there is a safety issue;
• allowing payment of driver's license and identification card fees by credit or debit card, and authorizing driver's license agents to impose a convenience fee;
• designating part of Interstate 35 in Rice County as the “Deputy John W. Liebenstein Memorial Highway,” and designating a pedestrian bridge over Highway 14 in Rochester as the “Arianna Celeste MacNamara Memorial Bridge”;
• expanding the authority for buses to operate on freeway or expressway shoulders so that counties and towns having jurisdiction over the road can authorize the buses; and
• requiring the Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Department of Public Safety to include a mechanism for vehicle owners to donate $2 for organ donation educational programs as part of an in-person payment of vehicle registration taxes.
“There’s a good number of bipartisan provisions in the bill,” Hornstein said.
Rep. Joe McDonald (R-Delano) successfully amended the bill to require a license plate only on the back bumper of a vehicle. He said this would save more than $1 million over a biennium. Opponent noted that law enforcement has concerns with this proposed change.
An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) would prohibit the Department of Transportation from constructing a J-turn at the intersection of Highway 53 and County Road 52 in Cotton Township.
- Mike Cook
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