Drazkowski Offers Bill to Close Driver Diversion Programs Statewide

Created: 01/21/2014 12:45 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Mazeppa Representative Steve Drazkowski has introduced new legislation in an effort to end driver diversion programs around the state.

Recently a court has ruled that some of the programs are illegal, and ordered them to close. Still, some continue to operate on the city and county level.

The issue is over where the money goes.  Typically during a traffic citation, a portion of the money goes to the state.  Under the diversion programs, if the person cited takes a class offered by the city or county, they don't have to pay the ticket.  Proceeds from the classes then stay with the local entity.

"Despite the State Auditor repeatedly telling them traffic diversion classes were illegal and the State Legislature specifically authorizing a program that allowed local governments to keep a portion of fines from traffic violations, these municipalities chose to break state laws so they could continue their extortion racket. In doing so, they violated Minnesota's Constitution and the public's trust," Drazkowski said.

In a news release, Drazkowski says since 2010,15 counties and 21 cities have collected nearly $2 million dollars, and those who committed the offenses were never reported to the state.

Drazkowski's legislation aims to close any remaining loopholes, and shut down the programs that continue to operate.

"It's time we hold local government officials accountable for willfully breaking the law," Drazkowski said. "By ignoring the State Auditor's warnings and the will of the Legislature, these municipalities illegally extracted money from the public for personal gain. They should be responsible for returning the money to those drivers who were duped into paying the unauthorized fine and attending the program."