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Minnesota Legislature

Agency provisions modified (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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A new law makes various Department of Transportation changes relating to filing highway surveys, state aid calculations and plat requirements.

Sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), the so-called “housekeeping” law requires the department to file the centerline of a trunk highway as part of the permanent public record before it is moved. The centerline is referenced in some older property records as a survey monument in the property description, and the department believes it is important to officially record the existing line for cases where the centerline is to be moved.

Three provisions related to primary seatbelt law are included to make it less restrictive: an exemption for newspaper delivery carriers, provides that only one surcharge can be applied per stop no matter how passengers are unbuckled, and it names the primary seatbelt law the “Kathryn Swanson Seat Belt Safety Act.” The former director of the Office of Traffic Safety and seatbelt advocate, Swanson died in February 2008 after a two-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at age 53.

Representatives from MnDOT and the Public Safety Department are to study “the mandatory 24-hour use of vehicle lighting by vehicles on public highways.” The study is to include Canadian and European Union experiences with a 24-hour display of vehicle lighting requirements. A report is due to the Legislature by Jan. 15, 2011.

The law also clarifies calculations used to allocate state-aid dollars to counties, so that projects funded from the state park road account do not count against money needs for the county. State law directs MnDOT to do this, but it is not followed in current practice.

Cities with less than 5,000 people are allowed to arrange a special census for purposes of determining municipal state-aid. It eliminates obsolete language on use of the federal census to determine the population of a city. Previous language referred to the 1980 census.

MnDOT is provided the ability to review and comment on preliminary plat proposals abutting state rail bank corridors. Department officials hope it will help preserve and protect such corridors for future uses.

All provisions take effect Aug. 1, 2009, except for language relating to a seatbelt requirement that takes effect June 9, 2009.

HF878*/SF746/CH168

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