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Registration exemption for tribes

Published (3/18/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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A bill approved by a House committee would exempt American Indian tribal governments from registering off-highway motorcycles and vehicles, snowmobiles, watercraft and all-terrain vehicles.

Sponsored by Rep. Lyle Koenen (DFL-Clara City), HF2957 was approved March 16 by the House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee and sent to the House Finance Committee with a recommended re-referral to the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division, where the fiscal impact of the bill would be noted.

Koenen said the Upper Sioux Indian Tribe in Yellow Medicine County requested to be “treated the same as other units of government.” Current legislation exempts registration for the machines owned and used for U.S. and state government purposes.

Its companion, SF2541, sponsored by Sen. Gary Kubly (DFL-Granite Falls), includes language that could enable a tribal government to issue an exempted vehicle or watercraft permit to a tribal member, which could have significantly more financial impact on registration proceeds to the Department of Natural Resources. The Senate Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Budget Division was scheduled to hear the bill March 18.

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