Public Record Update
July 2013
Motor Vehicle News

Alabama - Driving Records
Effective August 1 2013, the fee for an online driving record will increase from $7.75 to $8.25. The fee for manually processed records remains the same at $5.75. The fees for vehicle records also remain the same. Online driving records are accessible for approved account holders from Alabama.gov. See www.alabama.gov/portal/secondary.jsp?id=subscriptionServices

Virginia - CDL Restrictions
Effective July 1, 2013, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle made changes to its list of license restrictions pertaining to commercial driver license (CDL) holders. Below is a list of new or modified CDL Restrictions, courtesy of the MVR Access and Decoder Digest. Note that CIP refers to Commercial Driver's Instruction Permit.

9 Effective 07/01/2013: CIP not valid unless accompanied by valid driver's license.
B Effective 07/01/2013: Must wear corrective lenses when operating a CMV. (Replaces Y)
O Effective 07/01/2013: Prohibits operation of tractor trailer by CDL holder
X Effective 07/01/2013: CIP Restriction if issued with N Endorsement. Back of DL document shows "No cargo permitted in tank vehicle."
Y Replaced effective 07/01/2013. Must wear corrective lenses changed to Code B
Z Effective 07/01/2013; Prohibits operation of CDL with full air brakes

Wisconsin - Batch Driving Records
Wisconsin provides two programs for electronic access of driving records. The PARS Program is an interactive service that provides printable driving records in a PDF format. The DMV also offers a "Broker Volume" batch program for approved, higher volume accounts. This program enables requesters to receive records in a data file mode instead of a single record PDF. Note the PARS program also offers access to vehicle records to approved requesters.

Effective September, 2013, the Broker Volume program for driving records will be taken over by the Wisconsin Interactive Network, a subsidiary of NIC, Inc. At that time there will be a $2.00 fee increase for the batch generated record, from $5.00 to $7.00 per record. The fees for the PARS program remain the same.

News From Courts

Iowa - EDMS and Expanded Business Hours
29 counties are now fully participating and 4 counties are currently converting to the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) in Iowa.

One of the benefits that record searchers will find in Iowa as more counties convert is expanded courthouse public office hours. Non-EDMS clerk of court offices are open to the public on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm However, when a county converts to EDMS, the courts are eligible for additional funding for personnel. As a result the courts now are open to the public from 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

South Dakota - Unified Judicial System Conversion Completed
Earlier this summer the South Dakota Unified Judicial System (UJS) completed its conversion to a new case management system - Odyssey. The conversion brought new counties online and also converted existing data from the UJS's prior legacy systems.

A statewide criminal record search program now includes records back to 1989 for all counties. All records not juvenile-related or sealed are accessible. Civil case information is also available statewide unless the case is confidential or sealed. The system includes civil court data from 2003 to present, active money judgments for the past twenty years and all inactive money judgments since April 19, 2004.

The Spink County Clerk of Court in Redfield is the "appointed" location to process all mail record requests and to handle pre-approved accounts. So even if you mail a search request to another county it will likely be forwarded to Spink. All requests are $20.00 per name. One may setup an account with the UJS or pay using a credit card.

However, know that with the conversion any county court clerk can now do a statewide search for in-person requesters. An interesting tidbit is that when asked most court clerks will provide a combined civil and criminal search in perosn for the $20.00 fee.

See www.sdjudicial.com/Self_Help_Center/recordsearch.aspx.

Finding Public Records About Toxic Data

Many environmental public records held by the government rest at two locations: the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Library of Medicine. The content below looks at four resources from the National Library of Medicine, several EPA links are also mentioned. Also, at the end of this section check out Scorecard, a pollution information site. This information is excerpted from the Manual to Online Public Records, 3rd Edition.

  1. Household Products Database
    This resource indicates the chemical ingredients found in household products and who manufactures specific brands. The database contains information on over 7,000 products. email or visit householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. TOXMAP
    TOXMAP ( toxmap.nlm.nih.gov/toxmap/main/index.jsp) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) using maps of the U.S. to help users visually explore data from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) (www.epa.gov/tri/) and Superfund Programs. Maps at www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl show locations of national priorities of the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants in the U.S. Users can search the system by chemical name, chemical name fragment, and/or location (such as city, state, or ZIP code). TOXMAP also overlays map data such as U.S. Census population information, income figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and health data from the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Health Statistics.
  3. TOXNET
    TOXNET, the Toxicology Data Network, provides multiple databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. The free access at toxnet.nlm.nih.gov provides easy searching to a great many databases.
  4. Tox Town
    This interactive web page is a great source of non-technical descriptions of chemicals, assorted links to selected, authoritative chemical information, and lists everyday locations where one might find toxic chemicals. Visit toxtown.nlm.nih.gov.

Using Private Sector Sites
One can find a variety of informative 'whistle blower sites' on the web, usually supported by a law firms. One site worthy of mention here is Scorecard, a very popular, non-government web resource for information about pollution problems and toxic chemicals. Per their web page, one may learn about the pollution problems in community and learn who is responsible. See which geographic areas and companies have the worst pollution records. Visit scorecard.goodguide.com.

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