ND Bill Targets Out-Of-State Drivers - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND Bill Targets Out-Of-State Drivers

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Those moving into North Dakota are supposed to register their vehicles within 150 days, but many don't; one State Representative has proposed a bill that would force out-of-towners to get new plates... or pay the price.


     North Dakota is known for its under-priced speeding tickets. Chris Staloch resides in Fargo but grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota, and says penalties are much more painful in the land of 10,000 lakes: "Unfortunately I know from experience. I got one that was 170 bucks in Minnesota and a equivalent one in North Dakota that was 35 to 40 bucks."

If you live in North Dakota for 90 days, you're a resident. You then have just 60 more days to have your licence updated with ND-DOT, including your plates and ID... And if you don't, a new North Dakota bill would see that you pay for it.

As Tioga State Representative Bob Skarphol explains, "If you want to maintain your Minnesota license and work in North Dakota, we will let you, as long as you don't speed. [...] But, if you speed and maintain your license from wherever else, whatever fine is applicable in that state of origin will apply."

That means that those expensive tickets you're used to back home could soon follow you to North Dakota. Its a proposal that makes sense to Deeon Utter of Fargo: "We are taxpayers and this is our state. A little bit of revenue doesn't hurt. I mean, they are using our roads; we pay for them. They don't live here, you know?"

The newly introduced bill would direct all additional revenue from speeding tickets back to the police department that issued the citation, which Utter thinks could be a good thing for communities that are constantly on the grow. "Why not?" He asks. "Our population is growing so fast in the last three years, [and] with population growth, we need more enforcement to keep our community safe."

Still, Staloch says, it could open a can of worms for law enforcement: "That is profiling... They might just purposefully try to target out-of-state drivers."

Representative Skarphol says, if it is profiling, he's comfortable with that, "because I believe we have laws that require people to register their vehicle and get a drivers license in North Dakota if you're going to work here."

Out-of-state plates would likely get you noticed out West, where the Representative who proposed this bill says probably half the drivers are from another state; but in Fargo, law enforcement says, it would be tough to crack down on the nearly 20,000 students here to study. The bill in its current form would leave it up to the officer issuing the ticket to determine if someone was a current resident or not. At this point, it's hard to say if this bill has legs.

Some opponents of the bill suggest North Dakota should simply increase speeding fines across the board -- that way, law enforcement could avoid getting caught up in the "you pulled me over because I have out-of-state plates" argument all together.


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