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Changes to net federal funds

Published (5/6/2011)
By Mike Cook
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Minnesota could receive federal funds to educate people about vehicular child restraints.

Sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park), HF1214 was approved April 29 by the House Public Safety Policy and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee and sent to the House floor. A companion SF1124, sponsored by

Sen. Pam Wolf (R-Spring Lake Park), was held over April 26 by the Senate Transportation Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion.

In 2009, a law was enacted requiring children under age 8 and shorter than 4-foot-9 to be fastened in an appropriate child restraint, including a booster seat. The law applied to all passenger vehicles as well as school buses. Last year, a school bus exemption was passed.

“The language that we chose to use in 2010 made us ineligible for the federal grant of $378,000,” Hortman said. “We’d like to fix the language to make us eligible to receive that federal funding.” The problem was that the language included type III vehicles that should not be exempted from the booster law.

According to a fact sheet from the Office of Traffic Safety, the federal dollars are used “for training of law enforcement, daycare providers, and child passenger safety advocates on child restraint. Equally important, a significant portion of the money is also used to provide child safety seats to Minnesota’s needy families.”

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