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New rules make private car sales more difficult

Scott N. Miller
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EAGLE – Just about every day, Eli Murillo hears some form of “C’mon, help a brother out.”Murillo isn’t alone. The five other bilingual employees in the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s three offices have been hearing the same plea, a lot, over the last few weeks.The Spanish-speaking clerks have been hearing a lot about a new set of rules that came down from the Colorado Department of Revenue last month. In short, those rules make it harder to register, or transfer the title, of a car.”Some of them get really upset,” Murillo said. “They say ‘Why is this rule now?'”Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton isn’t sure why the new rule came when it did. And, she said, she believes it hurts all kinds of people, from those without proper IDs to parents who want to transfer ownership of a family car to a kid off at college. All she knows is she feels obligated to enforce it.As Simonton explains it, a few weeks ago the Colorado Department of Revenue recently sent out the new rules, as part of a bill passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. That bill, called the “Secure and verifiable document act,” dealt mainly with the transfer of cars and identification required for voting.For almost the last three years, clerk’s offices around the state have been asking people for photo ID. If they had the right ID, a new title could be printed in the local clerk’s office. If not, the title transfer paperwork was sent to Denver, with a title for a new owner arriving in a few weeks.

Now, though, no photo ID, no title transfer. And, Simonton said, the office no longer accepts the “matricula consular” ID issued by the Mexican government for its citizens living outside the country.Simonton and her employees are yelled at and sometimes accused of racism. But, she said, she doesn’t see much choice but to comply with the new rules sent from Denver.Employees of clerk’s offices who don’t work within the new rule can lose their immunity from lawsuits. And, when a car’s true ownership is in doubt, people can, and do, get sued when those cars are involved in accidents or criminal acts. But, Simonton said, that’s not the biggest problem with the new rules.”It’s encouraging people to drive without registering or titling cars in their names,” Simonton said. “That means we could end up with more uninsured motorists, too.”Gelasio Velasco works at Santa Fe Furniture in Gypsum. He said he wouldn’t have a problem meeting the new rules, but he knows plenty of people who might. And, he said, Simonton is right to be worried.”People have to drive,” Velasco said. “They’re going to be driving without these things.”And, Simonton said, the new rules just encourage people to figure out ways around the new rules.

And, Murillo said, she has no way to check possibly fake immigration documents.”There’s nobody to back us up on this,” she said.”I feel bad that I can’t do anything,” Murillo added. “It’s tough, but we go day by day trying to explain it. We try to be as helpful as we can, but there’s a line you can’t cross.”===============The rules:Forms of ID that will be accepted by the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office include:• A valid driver’s license from Colorado or another state.



• A United States Passport• The passport of a foreign country with the proper visa• A visa or work permit issued by the United States government========================Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or smiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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