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Extensions to license, registration deadlines considered in response to pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change everyday life in Minnesota, extensions to licensing and registration requirements, along with other changes, could help keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Sponsored by Rep. Brad Tabke (DFL-Shakopee), HF1447, as amended, would build off other transportation-related provisions included in HF4531*/SF4451, which was signed into law March 28.

Via a remote hearing, the House Transportation Finance and Policy Division approved the bill as amended and sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The bill would make a range of changes, including:

  • extending out-of-state commercial driver’s licenses for new Minnesota residents;
  • allowing the Department of Public Safety to issue commercial driver’s licenses without immediately administering eye exams and taking in-person photographs;
  • extending the registration period for vehicles whose registration cannot be renewed online;
  • requiring reports on the use of temporary powers by both the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Council;
  • extending the deadline for the Metropolitan Council’s transit finance report to Feb. 15, 2021; and
  • authorizing the use of federal relief funds.

It also contains federal conformity measures, said Emma Corrie, director of the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division.

The extensions would run through the end of the second month following the end of the peacetime emergency.

Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) asked if the licensing extensions were really necessary – as many deputy registrars are re-opening – and expressed concern the bill could cause an unnecessary drop in revenue.

Although a fiscal note was not yet available, Corrie said that she did not expect to see a significant financial impact because it is the first year of the biennium and revenues would be deferred, not lost altogether.

The bill ensures that people will not be pressured to “rush into our offices,” she said.

A companion, SF2223, is sponsored by Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) and awaits action by the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.

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