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Bill could clear the way for license center to return

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news Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

State Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) is not at all pleased with the news of Farmington's license center being closed down.

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Garofalo introduced a bill Monday to override decisions made by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Driver and Vehicle Services division last week. It was the DVS's refusal to allow Farmington's license center to issue drivers licenses and vehicle tabs that forced the license center to close just days after it had opened.

The DVS denied Farmington's ability to operate as a full driver's license agency because the location is within 10 miles of licensing centers in neighboring communities. Farmington was denied as a vehicle deputy registrar because the city proposed a public-private partnership with the company, Quick-Serv.

But Farmington received its ability to open a deputy registrar's office - essentially, a full licensing center - through special legislation passed in 2010. That's why Garofalo is not pleased.

"We made it very clear what we wanted in that legislation. It was agreed to on a bipartisan basis. It was signed by Gov. Pawlenty," Garofalo said Monday. "We're going to correct it, and we're going to correct it quickly."

The 2010 legislation specifically waives the 10-mile radius rule and allows "for the city of Farmington to operate a new full-service Office of Deputy Registrar," which Garofalo is quick to point out should allow the license center to open. And he applauds the city's partnership efforts with Quick-Serv.

"For the state to suddenly show up with its padlock again is just a case of bureaucrats interfering for the sake of interfering," he said in a press release this week. "The message this sends to cities is, 'Don't look for better ways to serve your citizens, because nosy government do-gooders will be there to stop you.'"

Garofalo's bill was referred to the transportation committee, which has authority over Driver and Vehicle Services.

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