Deputy registrars are asking state lawmakers to compensate them for extra staff time and lost business caused by major software problems with the state’s MN-LARS vehicle registration and licensing system. Donny Vosen, deputy registrar from Brainerd told a Senate committee, “I’ve lost good business customers who believe this is my fault. I’ve lost dealers who think this is my fault…. I’ve watched my staff lose their confidence. We don’t even know what we know anymore.”
Kelly Davison with the Prior Lake License Bureau choked back tears as she told lawmakers, “This year I’ve had to take a loan from my life insurance policy so that I can keep paying my employees. Even after hiring five new people, we still can’t keep up with our pre-MNLARS transaction counts.” Davison adds the state is losing over a million dollars a week in uncollected revenue at her office alone because of problems with MN-LARS.
A bill moving forward in the Minnesota Senate has 10 million dollars to reimburse deputy registrars, but lobbyists indicate the total amount needed will likely be higher. Hutchinson Senator Scott Newman is asking for the total cost now, saying he wants to compensate deputy registrars as soon as possible but also doesn’t want to be “piecemealed to death.”
The legislature approved and Governor Tim Walz today signed an emergency appropriation to continue repairs on MN-LARS. A special panel will research whether it makes more sense to abandon the system and instead use commercially available software.