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MNLARS reimbursement bill headed to House floor

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The Minnesota House could soon vote on a $9 million bailout for local vehicle licensing offices.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee advanced the bill Monday on a voice vote for future floor action.

Under the bill, deputy registrars would be reimbursed for overtime and other expenses related to the flawed roll-out of the state’s new licensing and registration computer system, known as MNLARS.

Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, said he considers his bill an “disaster relief act” for the 174 offices that have had to deal with MNLARS problems. He said the one-time payments would be based on the number of transactions at each office.

“This is the most fair and quickest way to get money out to these offices that are in some way are barely hanging on to stay in business,” Baker said.

The bill would tap two Department of Public Safety operating accounts to pay for the one-time reimbursement payments.

Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL Crystal, said he supports the goal of the bill, but he raised concerns about its funding source.

“I was just concerned that being that the governor proposed general fund that we not spend this down to the point where we create a problem for the department,” Carlson said.