When the Department of Public Service rather surprisingly announced they were ending access to bulk motor vehicle and drivers' records in December, the MIIAB joined a coalition of interest groups affected by this decision. We participated in several meetings with department staff to attempt to alter this decision. While we made some headway in which the department agreed to continue access to bulk data and move the effective date of the new system out until August 31, there were still several major questions about the proposed new system. Many vendors felt that the process and expense in obtaining the data was too confusing and prohibitive.
The coalition decided to call this issue to the attention of the state legislature with the hope they would intervene. After several attempts to reach a compromise with the Governor's office and DPS, legislators took over and passed legislation keeping access to bulk data and prescribing fees for this access.
Under the legislation, vendors will be able to access bulk data after completing a subscriber agreement with the Department. Under the agreement, all vendors would be required to conduct audits by independent professional audit agencies and share these audits with the department. Bulk data recipients would pay a monthly fee ($3,680) and an additional one cent per record fee for subsequentupdates.
This language was added to a government data practices bill, Senate File 1770, on the House floor during the last day of the legislative session. It was quickly accepted by the Senate. The bill was presented to Governor Dayton on the 17th of May. Under the state constitution, he now has two weeks to decide if he will sign or veto the bill. So we will find out his decision by the end of the month.
We do know that the Department of Public Safety is not happy with the legislative action and believe it will not cover their costs in administrating bulk data purchases. They may be suggesting the governor veto the bill. Obviously, we would like him to sign it.
Please take the time to contact the Governor's office and encourage him to sign Senate File 1770 into law. You can email Governor Dayton at http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/ or phone him at (651) 201-3400 or (800) 657-3717.
Even if the governor signs this bill into law, the new fees are substantially higher than those under current system, so we expect access for independent agents will also be more expensive. And, this legislative solution is just for a year. The Legislative Commission on Data Practices was directed in SF 1770 to review issues related to the use of state motor vehicle and driver's license records including the subscription service and the fees charged for DPS records. We will likely revisit this issue in the future.