A Plan To Fix The License Plate Fiasco

It's no secret that I don't have a lot of sympathy for the staffing problems at the Minnehaha Courthouse. Part of County Treasurer Pam Nelson's job is to schedule her staff to maximize her department's efficiency, and she's shown herself to be a complete failure with that task.

Are we stuck with long lines, particularly at the end of each month? Probably, but an old friend of mine recently came up with a solution. You may recall that a few years ago, the state changed the laws regarding vehicle licensing. Instead of having the plates "follow" the vehicle, your plates now carry forward to any replacement auto.

I'm actually not a big fan of this law change. Earlier this year, it caused a few problems for my son when his original vehicle literally died on the road. Before junking his original car, he bought a new one and as instructed transferred the plates to this new vehicle. The original car was then towed by the city for not having plates, and arranging to donate it to a junkyard was easier said than done.

Like it or not, though, we have this new law, and it presents the perfect opportunity to fix the courthouse staffing problems. A few weeks ago, a state legislator suggested changing the law to have plates renewed every other year instead of every year. My friend wants to go a step farther. Since the plates belong to us as long as we reside in this state, why not give us the option to pre-pay for the future. If you know that you're going to stick around for quite some time, why not allow us to pay for five...maybe even ten...years?

Obviously, the elderly would probably be hesitant to pay for more than a couple of years, and young adults never know when they may be decide to bolt for greener pastures. Those people could continue to pay every year, or every other year. But somebody like myself, who is inevitably destined to live out the rest of my life in this city, would jump at the chance at not having to deal with renewing my plates every year.

Sure, there are still filing requirements whenever your move or change vehicles. But this is primarily just paperwork formalities that can be easily handled online. I honestly can't think of any downside to this plan. Do you?


Anonymous said…
I just hope the cost doesn't go up for my plates. I've got 5 cars, and love them all. I don't want to give up my babies for adoption, but in light of the rate hikes that are being proposed now, it looks bad for me and the working poor.

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