Lawmakers agree on $13M more for MNLARS system

March 05, 2019 05:45 AM

Legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Walz have agreed on plans to provide about $13 million in immediate funding so repairs can continue on Minnesota's troubled vehicle registration system known as MNLARS, and they're working to find $10 million to compensate registrars for losses they incurred trying to make it work.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka told reporters Monday the bills could be on the governor's desk and ready for him to sign Tuesday.

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The House then voted 52-12 to pass the bill Monday night. The Senate has yet to officially approve the measure.

Senate transportation chairman Scott Newman says the governor and House Democratic leaders also agreed on hiring independent experts who will report back by May 1 on whether to spend money out of the next two-year budget to continue trying to fix the balky software or try another approach.

The state has already spent more than $100 million on MNLARS.

After the House's vote, Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), issued the following statement:

"It's incredibly disappointing that the first bill being sent to Gov. Walz this year gives funding to government agencies but includes no relief for those who have been hurt by the failures of government. It's been ten months since the governor vetoed two rounds of deputy registrar relief funding—these folks have waited long enough, and it's a shame that the legislature once again has delaying passage of this badly-needed relief." 

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler released the following statements:

"Today, the House passed funding so we can continue to improve the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System – to reduce wait times and increase efficiency for Minnesotans. We also solved a problem created by the previous Legislature when they unnecessarily borrowed against the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Further, moving quickly to fund the Andover landfill cleanup is critically important to residents of the north metro area," said Speaker Hortman. "This is an example of how divided government can work if we're willing to work together, find solutions, and compromise."

"House DFLers believe in honest budgeting and solving problems facing Minnesotans," said Majority Leader Winkler. "We hope this is just the first step as we face much more challenging issues this session."

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Associated Press

(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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