The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 12, 2014

Vets plates bill gets touchup

ST. PAUL — A bill authored by Mankato legislators to authorize a motorcycle license plate for wounded veterans is almost ready for the governor.

The bill took an unexpected pit stop Monday in a conference committee, triggered by the Senate’s addition of two amendments last week. One amendment was relatively minor — it added a license plate for retired firefighters — but the other changed how the state approves specialty plates.

DFL transportation leaders in the House and Senate agreed they didn’t want to cede this much authority to the Department of Motor Vehicles, said Rep. Kathy Brynaert, a Mankato DFLer.

That amendment, from Republican Sen. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen, was removed and the retired firefighter amendment was kept in. Republican Sen. Eric Pratt of Prior Lake attended the Monday meeting to articulate his chamber’s position on specialty license plates.

“The intent of the Senate was just to say that a lot of the time it doesn’t seem like it warrants that kind of discussion,” Pratt said. Brynaert agreed that this discussion on how to handle specialty plates should be had but didn't think this bill is the right place to have it.

Though there is already a license plate for wounded veterans, Mankato-area vets asked local legislators to authorize a smaller version for motorcycles. Because it is different from the original version, the bill will have to be reapproved by the House and Senate.

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