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Wabasha County Leaders Sue Over Driving Program

Posted at: 08/21/2013 7:11 PM
Updated at: 08/21/2013 7:53 PM
By: Maricella Miranda

Two Wabasha County commissioners filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the county and the state of Minnesota arguing that a safe driving program is unlawful.

Commissioners David Harms and Deb Roschen filed the lawsuit after the state auditor previously warned the county that the Safe Driving Class in Wabasha County violates state law because it did not disburse funds to the state.

The program - which has been in place for the past 10 years - allegedly keeps money from its attendees within the county, according to Erick Kaardal, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.

The course, which is offered to drivers cited for minor traffic offenses, provides a cheaper alternative to paying a traffic fine. It also allows the county to keep all of the money it collects rather than giving the state a cut - which would happen if a fine is paid.

This week, Wabasha County commissioners did not act on a resolution calling on the sheriff to end the program. Afterward, Roschen announced that she would file the lawsuit.

The state of Minnesota, the state's attorney general and the state auditor's office are named as defendants in the case.