Fix Proposed for County Safe Driving Programs

Updated: 08/20/2013 6:17 AM By: Cassie Hart

One night after 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS told you how more than a dozen counties may be violating state law, a key lawmaker is stepping forward to solve the problem.
It's an effort to finally end a 10 year fight over money, and at issue are county run safe driving programs.

The programs are cheaper alternatives for drivers ticketed for minor traffic violations. The infraction does not go on a driver's record or impact insurance premiums.

Plus, counties and cities sometimes keep the money collected rather than giving the state a cut as they would in the event a traffic fine is paid or a driver participates in a court ordered divergence program.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto's office has said county run programs violate state law.

Some county attorneys and sheriffs disagree. Many say the law is unclear and is in need of clarification.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, (DFL) Brooklyn Center, is proposing a fix for the next legislative session. She plans to introduce two bills aimed at settling the controversy once and for all.