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Tag issues can wind up in district court

POSTED May 10, 2011 1:49 p.m.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about rules for tagging motor vehicles in Kansas.)

If you live in Kansas, and you drive in Kansas, you should tag your vehicle in Kansas.
That is the law.
But there are arguments for why some drivers believe they are an exemption, according to County Treasurer Kevin Wondra. “Sometimes it can turn into a three-ring circus,” he said about the reasons given for why a vehicle is not tagged in state.
Wondra explained at this week’s Barton County Commission meeting that the state requires that each county treasurer’s office tag and title all vehicles used in that county. And that involves the annual renewal as well as the change when someone has moved into Kansas.
This issue was raised at a commission meeting during “discussion items” a couple of weeks ago when a rural Barton County resident complained that a neighbor of his had vehicles that were routinely driven locally, though they have been tagged in Iowa.
Wondra said he sent out a letter last May, explaining the state requirements. Also, it was noted Monday that the person who owns the vehicles in question has stated he plans to tag them in Barton County.
The issue gets raised periodically, however, and county officials continue to address it.
Sheriff Greg Armstrong told the county commission that when he was notified of this situation, he brought it to the attention of his road deputies, alerting them to watch for the vehicles. However, every time they saw the vehicles they were parked at the person’s property and in such a way that the tags were not visible.
Without seeing them move, the officers don’t have a reason to take any action, the sheriff added.
He noted that such an issue can be brought to court two ways.
It can begin with an officer witnessing that the vehicle is tagged out of state, or a citizen can file an official complaint with the county attorney.
Armstrong said he is not in favor of an officer acting on a complaint without seeing the tag himself. If the issue were to go to court, he would want the officer to be able to testify to what had actually been witnessed, not what someone else attested to.
Wondra told the commissioners that generally, the public follows the rules about registration renewals.

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