Senate passes MNLARS funding, external review requirement

On Monday, legislation to provide funding for the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) passed the Minnesota Senate on a bipartisan vote. The bill, Senate File 1092, provides funds for immediate system maintenance, contractual obligations, and an independent review of the MNLARS software.

“This bill will allow us to finally move forward on a problem that has plagued Minnesotans for way too long. Governor Walz inherited the MNLARS mess and I believe he is genuine in his desire to work with the legislature and fix this problem,” said Senator Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), chair of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. “MNLARS is a program paid for by Minnesotans to serve Minnesotans – but it has been the cause of too many headaches for too many people. It’s time for the MNLARS saga to come to an end, and I’m glad the governor sees the value in a bipartisan solution that achieves that goal.”

The bill provides funding for the continued maintenance and support of MNLARS through this fiscal year only, as well as funding for the state’s existing contractual obligations. The bill also includes a requirement that a third-party information technology expert review the system and make recommendations to the legislature as to whether the state should continue with the current in-house program development or hire a private vendor to complete the long-overdue work.

“For the first time in over a decade, an independent review will give us a look behind the curtain of the departments and allow us an unbiased, neutral review of what is happening and how we can move forward,” Senator Newman continued.

Senator Scott Newman, of Hutchinson, is in his third term representing District 18, which includes communities in McLeod, Meeker, Sibley, and Wright counties. Senator Newman serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.

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