At Issue: April 15 - Tim Pawlenty in Studio, Controversy Over MNLARS Call Center

April 15, 2018 06:27 PM

Candidate for Governor Interview: Tim Pawlenty

Between now and mid-May, Tom Hauser will sit down with candidates running for governor in Minnesota. 

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Republican Tim Pawlenty is, of course, no stranger to the governor's office. He served as Minnesota governor from 2003-2011. Now, he's hoping to get back into state politics after an eight year break. 

Pawlenty discussed his return to the campaign trail, how he'll defend his previous record, his previous comments about President Trump and whether or not he will run in a GOP primary for governor this summer. 

RELATED: KSTP's Election Page 

Controversy Surrounds Funding for MNLARS Call Center

The issues and questions keep coming in regards to problems with the state's new licensing and registration system known as MNLARS. This week Republican lawmakers grilled state officials about a decision to use $1.3 million in highway funding to hire more than 25 workers to staff a call center to handle customer complaints about MNLARS. 

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman told lawmakers this week the decision was made to use money from a Highway User Account, funded with gas tax dollars, to hire those workers. She says the decision was made after the legislature denied specific funding to use for a call center. The legislature approved $10 million in emergency funding to begin fixes for the MNLARS system, but that funding was not to be used for a call center.

Public safety and MNLARS officials say they needed to do something to respond to customers more quickly. Right now, nearly three-fourths of the hundreds of thousands of calls are met with a busy signal. It is also taking up to 12 days for officials to respond to emails. 

Listen to At Issue Podcast 

 

Credits

Amanda Theisen

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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