Omnibus transportation policy bill proffered

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Speed limit violations, online driver’s education training and dollars for organ donation are part of a proposed omnibus transportation policy bill.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Beard (R-Shakopee), HF1284 is mostly what was proposed in last session’s omnibus bill (HF1068) that was awaiting floor action when session concluded.

Approved by the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee, the latest version was sent to the House Government Operations and Elections Committee.

Potentially the most controversial part would prohibit speed limit violations of up to 10 mph over the limit in 55 mph and 60 mph zones from going on a driver’s record. Currently, a ticket does not appear on someone’s driving record if the person was driving up to 10 mph over the speed limit in a 55 mph zone, or 5 mph over the limit in a 60 mph zone.

“This is not good public safety policy,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls). “Any kind of inference that it’s OK to go over the speed limit is problematic.”

Representatives from the state patrol and the Department of Transportation also spoke against the provision, saying, in part, the idea sends the wrong message about traffic safety laws.

“The ability to write tickets and enforce traffic laws is not impeded in the least,” Beard said, adding he’s only trying to help keep people’s insurance costs down. “I’m in favor of cutting people a little slack there.”

Sponsored by Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), a standalone bill for this (HF537) was passed 111-20 by the House last session, but tabled by the Senate.

Other provisions in the bill include:

  • allowing a person under age 18 to complete the classroom portion of driver’s education online through a program approved by the Department of Public Safety;
  • allowing payment of driver’s license and identification card fees by credit or debit card, and authorizing driver’s license agents to impose a convenience fee;
  • expanding the authority for buses to operate on freeway or expressway shoulders so that counties and towns having jurisdiction over the road can authorize the buses; and
  • requiring the Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Department of Public Safety to include a mechanism for vehicle owners to donate $2 for organ donation educational programs as part of an in-person payment of vehicle registration taxes.