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Conferees agree on window tint bill

Published (4/29/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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A conference committee agreed April 27 to accept the House language on a bill that would make selling or applying illegal window tints on motor vehicles a misdemeanor.

Current law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle with too dark tints, but does not extend to making the application of dark tints illegal.

Minnesota law prohibits applying tints to a vehicle’s front windshield and less than a 50 percent visible light transmission on side and rear windows. Some exceptions apply to rear windows of hearses, police vehicles, limousines, vans and pickup trucks.

State Patrol Maj. Mike Asleson said dark tints present a safety threat to officers when approaching a vehicle and make it more difficult for drivers to see out of, especially at night. Last year, 5,600 tickets were issued for illegal window tints and more than 16,000 drivers received warnings, Asleson said.

Sponsored by Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), HF2914/ SF2370* was first approved by the Senate with a provision to prohibit car dealers from selling or leasing vehicles with illegal window tints unless the vehicle is transported without being driven on Minnesota roadways.

Alyssa Schlander, government affairs director for the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, told conferees the Senate provision would add to the cost of handling used vehicles and that those costs would be passed onto consumers. Conferees removed the provision.

Mark Gjerde of Gjerde’s Solar Shield said benefits of tinted windows include privacy and protection for single occupants and personal belongings, protection from damaging ultraviolet rays to vehicle interiors and their occupants, cooler interiors and less likelihood that a treated window would shatter when struck.

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