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Norwalk's Lavielle: This Is No Time To Increase DMV's Responsibilities

State Rep. Gail Lavielle
State Rep. Gail Lavielle Photo Credit: Contributed photo

NORWALK, Conn. -- Two proposals announced this week perfectly show the problems at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, said state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-143rd District of Wilton, Norwalk and Westport. 

One, introduced by Gov. Dannel Malloy, would allow some DMV customer services to be outsourced to third parties, including AAA. The other, introduced by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, would automatically register anyone doing business with the DMV as a voter. 

“Given the current disarray at the DMV, these two proposals seem to be working at cross-purposes,” said Lavielle. “The governor’s proposal, which I support, would help the DMV reduce its backlog and manage its resources, and would help customers save time, as they already do when they visit AAA offices for license renewals." 

But Lavielle blasted the other plan for automatic voter registration at the DMV.

"The secretary of the state’s proposal would require the DMV to take on a new set of activities at a time when it can’t properly perform the tasks it has already," she said. "Customers are not receiving an acceptable level of service, and the situation needs to be addressed with great urgency. 

"I have a number of concerns with the secretary of the state’s proposal, but among the most serious is that this the wrong time to give the DMV additional responsibilities. Connecticut residents deserve better.” 

DMV wait times tripled after the agency upgraded its computer system last August, and it continues to struggle under its workload. Over the past few months, many drivers who had changed insurance companies had their vehicle registrations erroneously revoked. Most recently, the DMV sent 100,000 vehicle tax bills to the wrong municipalities. 

Malloy's proposal would make it easier for such customer services as license renewals and motor vehicle registrations to be handled through independent contractors. AAA already provides license renewals in its offices, and this has allowed many DMV customers to save substantially on wait time. 

The proposal announced by Merrill would require the DMV to register everyone to vote who does business with the agency to vote, creating an opt-out rather than an opt-in process for customers.

Click here for a Daily Voice story on Malloy's proposal to outsource DMV functions.

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