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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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RELEASE: Statement from Rep. Torkelson on MNLARS Funding Request

Thursday, February 7, 2019

ST. PAUL, MN—Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, Republican Lead on the House Transportation Policy and Finance Division, issued the following statement regarding news today that the Walz administration is seeking $16 million in deficiency funding for the failed licensing and registration system known as MNLARS.

"This amount is similar to the funds that were vetoed last session by Governor Dayton that would have allowed fixes to continue throughout much of the past year," Torkelson said. "I hope the Walz administration will provide everyone with a detailed breakdown of how the funds will be used, and what improvements Minnesotans can expect for their tax dollars."

Last session, lawmakers approved $13.7 million as part of the supplemental budget bill that was vetoed by Governor Dayton in May. Torkelson also voiced concern for Minnesota's Deputy Registrars, many of whom suffered significant financial losses as a result of MNLARS technology failures.

"I urge Governor Walz to also prioritize relief for the Deputy Registrars whose livelihoods have been devastated by MNLARS through no fault of their own. Many of these are small businesses run by Minnesotans, and we've heard heartbreaking cases of owners who had to borrow against their retirements just to keep the lights on. Any discussion of MNLARS funding must also include these Minnesotans who have been hurt financially by this system."

In 2018, the legislature sent a standalone Deputy Registrar relief bill to Governor Dayton's desk and ultimately vetoed. House Democrats sustained the veto during a subsequent override attempt in the House. Funding for Deputy Registrars was also included in the vetoed supplemental budget bill.