More cities and counties in Minnesota would be authorized to
issue their own fines for minor traffic violations instead of state tickets,
under legislation in the Minnesota statehouse. A separate effort seeks to end
the practice altogether.
Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Payneville, has offered a bill
that would formalize a practice that is growing in popularity for local
governments in the state. It would allow law enforcement to hand out
administrative tickets for minor infractions.
Supporters say the administrative tickets that are handed
out in such places as Cold Spring, MN, and Richmond, MN, would allow police to
cite people for actions that might otherwise go unpunished, the St. Cloud
Times reported. Others say the tickets would help offset department
Opponents say it's a desperate attempt to fill local coffers
and that it would hurt enforcement efforts in the long run. With that in mind,
Sen. Leo Foley, DFL-Coon Rapids, has offered a bill that would prohibit
administrative penalties at the local level.
Fischbach's bill would limit traffic violations eligible for
administrative fines to such offenses as exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph or
less, failure to signal intentions to turn, and running red lights or stop
Supporters say the tickets are more appealing to violators
because they are less costly than state tickets and they aren't tagged to
drivers' records and don't affect insurance rates.
Cities and counties still would need to adopt ordinances
before they could issue tickets. They could keep the revenue.
Violators would have the option to contest the penalties and
have offenses charged under state laws, the Times reported.
Fischbach's bill - SF1008 - is in the Senate Transportation
Committee. Foley's bill - SF155 - is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.