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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 168

Section 168.33

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168.33 Registrar of motor vehicles; deputy registrars.

Subdivision 1. Registrar duties and powers, generally. The commissioner of public safety shall be the registrar of motor vehicles of the state of Minnesota, and shall exercise all the powers granted to and perform all the duties imposed by this chapter. The commissioner of public safety may employ not to exceed eight persons as inspectors, to obtain information and report to the registrar regarding motor vehicles subject to taxation under this chapter upon which the tax has not been paid, and to present suitable complaints to courts of competent jurisdiction.

Subd. 2. Deputy registrars. (a) The registrar may appoint, hire, and discharge and fix the compensation of the necessary employees, in the manner provided by law, as may be required to enable the registrar to properly carry out the duties imposed by this chapter. The registrar may appoint, and for cause discontinue, a deputy registrar for any statutory or home rule charter city as the public interest and convenience may require, without regard to whether the county auditor of the county in which the city is situated has been appointed as the deputy registrar for the county or has been discontinued as the deputy registrar for the county, and without regard to whether the county in which the city is situated has established a county license bureau which issues motor vehicle licenses as provided in section 373.32.

(b) The registrar may appoint, and for cause discontinue, a deputy registrar for any statutory or home rule charter city as the public interest and convenience may require, if the auditor for the county in which the city is situated chooses not to accept appointment as the deputy registrar for the county or is discontinued as a deputy registrar, or if the county in which the city is situated has not established a county license bureau which issues motor vehicle licenses as provided in section 373.32. A person appointed by the registrar as a deputy registrar for any statutory or home rule charter city must be a resident of the county in which the city is situated.

(c) The registrar may appoint, and for cause discontinue, the county auditor of each county as a deputy registrar. Upon approval of the county board, the auditor, with the approval of the director of motor vehicles, may appoint, and for cause discontinue, the clerk or equivalent officer of each statutory or home rule charter city or any other person as a deputy registrar as public interest and convenience may require, regardless of the appointee's county of residence. At the request of the governing body of a statutory or home rule charter city, the auditor shall appoint, and may for cause discontinue, the clerk or equivalent officer of a city, or another officer or employee of the city designated by the governing body, as a deputy registrar:

(1) if the city is a county seat or, if not, is larger than the seat of the county in which it is situated; and

(2) no office of a deputy registrar is situated within the city or within 15 miles of the city by the most direct public route.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision, a person other than a county auditor or a director of a county license bureau, who was appointed by the registrar before August 1, 1976, as a deputy registrar for any statutory or home rule charter city, may continue to serve as deputy registrar and may be discontinued for cause only by the registrar. The county auditor who appointed the deputy registrars is responsible for the acts of deputy registrars appointed by the auditor. Each deputy, before entering upon the discharge of duties, shall take and subscribe an oath to faithfully discharge the duties and to uphold the laws of the state. If a deputy registrar appointed under this subdivision is not an officer or employee of a county or statutory or home rule charter city, the deputy shall in addition give bond to the state in the sum of $10,000, or a larger sum as may be required by the registrar, conditioned upon the faithful discharge of duties as deputy registrar.

(e) Until January 1, 2009, a corporation governed by chapter 302A may be appointed a deputy registrar. Upon application by an individual serving as a deputy registrar and the giving of the requisite bond as provided in this subdivision, personally assured by the individual or another individual approved by the commissioner of public safety, a corporation named in an application shall become the duly appointed and qualified successor to the deputy registrar. The appointment of any corporation as a deputy registrar expires January 1, 2009. A county board shall appoint, or the commissioner shall appoint if the county board declines to do so, an individual as successor to the corporation as a deputy registrar. The county board or commissioner shall appoint as the successor agent to a corporation whose appointment expires under this paragraph an officer of the corporation if the officer applies for appointment before July 1, 2009.

(f) Each deputy registrar appointed under this subdivision shall keep and maintain, in a convenient public place within or in close proximity to the place for which appointed, a registration and motor vehicle tax collection bureau, to be approved by the registrar, for the registration of motor vehicles and the collection of taxes on motor vehicles. The deputy registrar shall keep records and make reports to the registrar as the registrar, from time to time, may require. The records must be maintained at the facility of the deputy registrar. The records and facilities of the deputy registrar must at all times be open to the inspection of the registrar or the registrar's agents. The deputy registrar shall report to the registrar by the next working day following receipt all registrations made and taxes and fees collected by the deputy registrar. The filing fee imposed under subdivision 7 must be deposited in the treasury of the place for which appointed or, if not a public official, a deputy shall retain the filing fee, but the registration tax and any additional fees for delayed registration the deputy registrar has collected the deputy registrar shall deposit by the next working day following receipt in an approved state depository to the credit of the state through the commissioner of finance. The place for which the deputy registrar is appointed through its governing body must provide the deputy registrar with facilities and personnel to carry out the duties imposed by this subdivision if the deputy is a public official. In all other cases, the deputy shall maintain a suitable facility for serving the public.

Subd. 2a. Deputy registrars, continuation in office. Persons serving as deputy registrars on the effective date of this act shall continue to hold such office until a successor is duly appointed and qualifies.

Subd. 2b. Deputy registrars, employment status. (a) Deputy registrars, and their employees, who retain the filing fee in lieu of a salary, shall, after July 1, 1971, be considered as independent contractors for pension purposes, and ineligible because of such service for coverage under the Minnesota State Retirement System or membership in the Public Employees Retirement Association.

(b) Those deputy registrars as defined in this subdivision who are covered by the Minnesota State Retirement System on June 30, 1971, shall have the option of terminating said coverage on July 1, 1971, or of continuing said coverage until termination of state service. The form of the option and the time for filing shall be as prescribed by the board of directors of the system. Those choosing to continue said coverage, shall provide from the filing fees retained the employee and employer contributions as required by chapter 352.

Subd. 3. Record of vehicle registration. The registrar shall keep a suitable record of all motor vehicles registered in the registrar's office, indexed, according to registration number, according to name of the registered owner, according to make of motor vehicle and the factory identification number for such makes as are so identified or according to the serial number of such makes as are so identified until the manufacturers thereof adopt and use an identification number, and according to such other information as the registrar shall deem advisable. Duplicates of the certificate of registration shall be used, until a more efficient system is evolved, to make the registration number and registered owner's indexes herein required, and such other copies as are desirable. The registrar may furnish to any one applying therefor transcripts of such records for not less than the cost of preparing the same; provided, that any sums in excess of such cost received by the registrar for furnishing such transcripts shall be paid by the registrar into the state treasury. The registrar shall also furnish copies thereof, without charge, to the chiefs of police of the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.

Subd. 4. Repealed, 1996 c 435 s 18

Subd. 5. Repealed, 1996 c 435 s 18

Subd. 6. Application forms. The registrar shall provide, in a manner and format prescribed by the registrar, necessary forms and information to deputy registrars. The registrar and deputy registrars shall immediately destroy all number plates surrendered and shall cancel all certificates surrendered.

Subd. 7. Filing fee. (a) In addition to all other statutory fees and taxes, a filing fee of:

(i) $4.50 is imposed on every motor vehicle registration renewal, excluding pro rate transactions; and

(ii) $7 is imposed on every other type of vehicle transaction, including pro rate transactions;

except that a filing fee may not be charged for a document returned for a refund or for a correction of an error made by the Department of Public Safety, a licensed auto dealer, or a deputy registrar. The filing fee must be shown as a separate item on all registration renewal notices sent out by the department. No filing fee or other fee may be charged for the permanent surrender of a certificate of title and license plates for a motor vehicle.

(b) Filing fees collected under this subdivision by the department must be paid into the state treasury and credited to the highway user tax distribution fund, except fees for registrations of motor vehicles. Filing fees collected for registrations of motor vehicles in conjunction with a title transfer or first application in this state must be paid into the state treasury with 50 percent of the money credited to the general fund and 50 percent credited to the highway user tax distribution fund.

(c) A motor vehicle dealer shall retain $2.50 of each filing fee imposed under this subdivision for a completed transaction involving the sale of a motor vehicle to or by a licensed dealer, if the dealer electronically transmits the transaction to the department or deputy registrar. The department shall develop procedures to implement this subdivision in consultation with the Minnesota Deputy Registrar Association and the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association. Deputy registrars shall not be prohibited from receiving and processing required documents supporting an electronic transaction.

Subd. 8. Temporary disability permit and fee. The registrar shall allow deputy registrars to implement and follow procedures for processing applications and accepting and remitting fee payments for 30-day temporary disability permits issued under section 169.345, subdivision 3, paragraph (c), that are identical or substantially similar to the procedures required by rule for motor vehicle registration and titling transactions.

Subd. 9. Rules. The commissioner of public safety may adopt rules for administering and enforcing this section.

HIST: (2693) 1921 c 461 s 22; 1923 c 418 s 22; 1927 c 340 s 1; 1939 c 259 s 1; 1949 c 131 s 1; 1949 c 132 s 1; 1951 c 384 s 1; 1957 c 82 s 1; 1965 c 45 s 9; 1969 c 540 s 9; 1969 c 1129 art 1 s 15-17; 1971 c 58 s 1; 1971 c 625 s 1,3; 1971 c 853 s 13; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1973 c 375 s 1; 1975 c 146 s 1; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1976 c 281 s 1,2; 1977 c 327 s 2,3; 1979 c 329 s 3; 1981 c 357 s 59; 1984 c 549 s 24; 1984 c 629 s 3; 1984 c 654 art 3 s 61; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1985 c 291 s 17; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 496 s 11; 1988 c 647 s 10; 1989 c 209 art 1 s 16; 1989 c 269 s 40,41; 1990 c 426 art 1 s 22; 1990 c 565 s 28; 1991 c 56 s 1; 1996 c 435 s 11; 1996 c 455 art 4 s 11; 1997 c 250 s 3; 2000 c 426 s 12; 1Sp2001 c 8 art 2 s 36; 2002 c 371 art 1 s 11,12; 2003 c 112 art 2 s 50