Daylight saving time, light rail driver bills pass at deadline

March 12, 2019 06:23 PM

The first major deadline of the legislative session is Friday when bills need to pass out of at least one committee to remain alive for the session. One of the bills would subject light rail train operators to the same traffic accident laws as bus drivers and other drivers.

"This is a really straightforward bill that would simply make the reckless and careless driving statutes apply to light rail operators the same as it does for their colleagues driving a bus," said Rep. Cheryl Youakim, DFL-Hopkins. "If passed, the operator who caused this accident cannot be charged, but I believe Nick's family believes that we need to have this change in law."


She's referring to Nick Westlake, who was killed in a collision with a light rail train on University Avenue in St. Paul in July 2017. Under current law, even if evidence shows criminal negligence on the part of a light rail operator, he or she can't be charged.

The bill passed through the House Transportation Committee on a voice vote.

In the Senate, a bill passed a committee that would make "standard" time the law of the land all year.

RELATED: Walz's 2050 carbon-free electricity plan gets first hearing

"This bill would have standard time year round so there would be no more springing ahead or falling back or changing clocks," said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R- Big Lake. She's authoring a bill that would put Minnesota on one time schedule all year.

She'd prefer "daylight savings" all year, but right now the federal government doesn't allow that. Her bill passed a committee on Tuesday, but still has several steps to go before it could become law.

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Tom Hauser

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