SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a new bill to help Minnesotans further adapt to the challenges of COVID-19. These measures provide additional safety to students, an expansion of driver’s license expiration, and new reporting requirements to account for the state’s share of federal CARES Act allocation.
“The bipartisan House and Senate transportation bill contains important new school bus safety provisions and will make it easier for Minnesotans to extend expired driver’s licenses during this public health crisis,” said House Transportation Finance and Policy Chair Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis).
Previous COVID-19 response legislation included the extension of any non-commercial driver’s licenses set to expire either during the peacetime emergency or the month in which it ends. A new provision in the bill expands the driver’s license expiration extension to also include licenses that expire in the month immediately following the end of the peacetime emergency. Like previous extensions, individuals would have until the end of the second month after the month in which the emergency ends to renew their license. A key provision the bill would waive the requirement to take a new photograph and complete a vision test if an 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.
A significant public safety measure in the bill would protect children by requiring school bus drivers to employ their stop arms and flashing lights when a school bus is completing activities related to the current peacetime emergency, such as delivering lunches or academic materials to students, even though no children are on the bus.
Reporting requirements related to Federal COVID-19 funds are also included in the bill. This would require Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and the Met Council to provide reports to the Legislature, accounting for the use of all federal funds they receive to assist with needs related to the current COVID-19 crisis.
A copy of the bill can be found here.