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Residents file suit over driver diversion classes

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Nine residents have filed a class action lawsuit in southern Minnesota, demanding 36 cities and counties return at least $2 million raised through driver diversion classes.

The programs give motorists the option of enrolling in a safe-driving class instead of paying a ticket for a violation.

The group's attorney, Erick Kaardal, says the public doesn't understand how the state auditor, attorney general and the courts can tell law enforcement officials the diversion programs are illegal. But the programs continue to be offered, typically by police and sheriff's departments.

The lawsuit was filed a day after a bipartisan legislative effort to revamp the programs.

In Goodhue County, which suspended its class, County Attorney Stephen Betcher declined to discuss the lawsuit, but says they eagerly await legislative outcome.

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