While long lines and excruciating wait times remain the norm at Motor Vehicle Commission facilities across the state, Governor Murphy continues to delay enacting legislation that would help ease the congestion.
Since reopening after a three-month closure, long lines have been a fixture at MVC facilities, and Senator O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman DiMaso are calling on the Governor to sign two bills that will provide relief for residents. (SenateNJ.com)
Today, Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso called on the Governor to stop dragging his feet and sign a pair of bipartisan bills that cleared the Legislature with unanimous support to provide badly needed relief.
“This is really indefensible,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “First, that the Governor inexplicably has permitted the nightmare debacle that has become the MVC to continue to occur, and second that the Governor has ignored, for weeks, these common sense reforms that sit on his desk awaiting his signature. These are practical measures that both the Senate and Assembly endorsed on August 27 and forwarded to the Governor’s desk.
“He could have signed them and provided immediate benefit to many New Jersey drivers. Murphy has dragged this out for almost two weeks. His reluctance to take action is puzzling, and every resident waiting in a line to renew a license or register a title is paying the price in wasted time and lost productivity,” continued the Senator. “I challenge him to go and experience the nightmare that everyone dealing with this agency is forced to experience! I bet he schedules a signing ceremony the next day!”
O’Scanlon is one of the sponsors of A-4486/S2747, a bill that would extend the validity of expiring drivers’ licenses and identification cards for senior citizens through the end of the year. The measure also authorizes the commission to use stored driver’s license or ID card photos for 12 years, up from the current eight-year cap. Drivers over age 65 would be exempt from future photo updates under the bill.
The second measure is A-4520/S-2803, which would temporarily provide more time for drivers moving in from out of state to obtain New Jersey drivers’ licenses and register vehicles during the COVID-19 health emergency.
“Day after day, New Jersey residents must wait for hours in long, unnecessary lines. These bills should have been signed two hours after they landed on his desk,” said O’Scanlon. “There’s nothing controversial or debatable here. They offer good, common-sense solutions to a situation that has gone on far too long. The measures will help some folks directly, but cut lines down for everyone. That we even need legislation is puzzling as the Governor hasn’t hesitated to make pronouncements and govern by Executive Order throughout the pandemic.”
MVC facilities across the state closed for three months starting in mid-March, and agencies reopened their doors on July 7. The impact of the backlog persists.
“Every single day our office receives calls from constituents looking for help with license renewals and asking when the Governor will sign this legislation,” said DiMaso. “Seniors and the immunocompromised are concerned about standing in lines in the heat and risking their health all because this situation wasn’t handled properly. The Governor simply must sign this legislation immediately. Adding insult to injury, those who do renew online, as MVC is stressing that they do, are charged a ‘convenience fee.’ Senator O’Scanlon and I have requested legislation to temporarily waive that fee as well.”
Another bill that would pare down the lines, A-4442, was advanced by the Assembly but must pass the Senate before moving to the Governor for action. Under the measure, new drivers who pass the road test will not be required to get a driver’s license for 60 days, and would be authorized to operate a motor vehicle under their driving permit.
The Senate version, S-2755, was cleared by the transportation committee, but must earn approval from the Senate.
“With some residents reporting waiting in line for as long as eight hours, it is clear this bill is needed,” O’Scanlon said. “The Senate Democrat Majority should get this bill posted for the next session so we can pass it, and send it to Murphy. Drivers in our state need our help.”