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Soon-to-expire MN driver’s licenses get reprieve under transportation package headed to governor

Minnesotans with soon-to-expire driver’s licenses would get some extra time to renew under a transportation policy package passed Saturday in the House.

The omnibus transportation policy bill, HF462, would extend a driver’s license and state identification card expiration enacted in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, broadening that extension to include licenses and ID’s that would expire in the month that follows the last month of a public health emergency period declared by the governor.

HF462 would also waive a requirement to take a new photograph and complete a vision test if a driver’s license applicant’s name, address, signature, or driver’s license number hasn’t changed, and they aren't seeking a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license.

Minnesotans with soon-to-expire driver’s licenses would get some extra time to renew under a transportation policy package passed Saturday in the House. House Photography file photo

Sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) the bill was passed 131-2, as amended by the Senate, during Saturday’s lengthy floor session. It now goes to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature.

The bill “move(s) the needle forward for people in the transportation arena,” Hornstein said. It was passed 67-0 a day earlier in the Senate, where Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) is the sponsor, after that body adopted a delete-all amendment that inserted the language of SF3522. The House companion to that bill had been HF976, which the House Transportation Finance and Policy Division approved 18-0 on April 30.

Other provisions among the nearly two-dozen measures with bipartisan support in HF462 include those that would:

  • direct MnDOT, the Department of Public Safety and the Metropolitan Council to each report to the Legislature on the use of federal funds appropriated to the state as part of the response to the COVID-19 health crisis. The report would be due annually by Feb. 15 until that funding is exhausted;
  • modify the location temporary vehicle permits — for new vehicles, those issued to nonresidents for transporting the vehicle out of state, or those issued in conjunction with expired registration — are required to display their temporary permit, moving it from the rear window of the vehicle to the location a license plate is normally displayed;
  • allow drivers involved in a motor vehicle collision involving injury or damage to provide an email address in place of a residential address, and state that a driver’s license does not need to be shown to the other driver or drivers involved;
  • set owner notification requirements in order for a private road to be dedicated as public when it is continuously repaired or maintained as a public road for six years; and,
  • create an optional identifier on driver’s licenses and state ID’s allowing the holder to indicate they have a mental health disorder.


No transit safety measures

One key transportation policy piece didn’t make the bill — it contains no measures targeted at stemming an increase of crime on Metro Transit trains and buses, a point of emphasis for lawmakers this session on both sides of the aisle.

Hornstein said House and Senate leaders had been unable to reach agreement in time to include transit safety provisions in HF462. He said the two sides “are pretty close” and would continue to discuss the issue.

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