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Letter: Immediate action needed to fix MnLARS

As a public servant, it's my job to listen to the people I represent. Based on what I am hearing from residents of Clay, Becker, and Norman counties, the new Minnesota License and Registration System (MnLARS) is failing to fulfil basic services. We can fix this problem if state lawmakers work together, but first, I think it's important to back up and take a look at how we got to where we are today.

The development of MnLARS began in 2008 under Gov. Tim Pawlenty as a result of significant concerns about the performance and security with the existing 30-year-old system used by the Department of Vehicle Services. At the time, there was strong bipartisan agreement that the old system needed to be replaced. However, since MnLARS launched in July 2017, to say it has been a mess is an understatement. Minnesotans across the state have been facing unacceptable wait times for basic services.

More than one month ago, Minnesota IT Services (the information technology agency for Minnesota's executive branch) and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety provided state lawmakers with a clear timeline and path forward for fixing problems this system. Because of opposition from the majority leaders in the Legislature, work on a solution could come to an end this month. If that happens, we can expect problems with MnLARS to grow worse at the expense of the public.

Minnesota is fortunate to find itself on strong financial footing, with a $329 million surplus. Thankfully, we have the resources to make MnLARS fully operational. It is unfortunate that some people have chosen to turn MnLARS into an election year political football. To those people, I extend my hand and as well as a promise to work together, solve the problem, and do right by Minnesotans who have been affected.—Sen. Kent Eken, Twin Valley