Minnesota tows, rest areas and lane use under review at statehouse

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Minnesota lawmakers are considering bills that would revise certain towing requirements, provide funding for a rest area near Duluth, and determine the use of general purpose lanes.

The House Transportation Policy Committee voted to advance a bill that would add fire department officers and state or local authorities to the list of personnel authorized to have vehicles towed from public property.

State law now limits authorization to call for tows to police and parking enforcement officers.

Two more changes are intended to bring Minnesota law up to date with the electronic processing of towing documents.

State law would be changed to remove a requirement to complete a written, signed towing report by the tower and the officer prior to performing a tow.

Instead, a written report would be required after a tow by the towing authority to the officer who ordered the tow. The report must state that the towing authority received authorization and towed the vehicle.

Supporters say the changes are needed because most tow requests are made by email for by phone. They say that tow documents are no longer signed by hand. The bill would simply require confirmation of tows.

HF2995 awaits further consideration in the House.

Another bill in the House Transportation Finance Committee would provide a funding boost for a rest area in northeast Minnesota. HF3197 would provide a $40,000 grant for the next two years to the city of Floodwood. The funding is intended for maintenance and repairs at the facility on U.S. 2.

One more bill would prohibit cities from converting or utilizing a general purpose lane on a street or highway for exclusive use for such use as transit, high-occupancy vehicles or bicycles. HF3025 would not apply to dynamic shoulder lanes that are used as general purpose lanes during certain periods.

The bill is in the House Transportation Policy Committee.

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