Capitol Alert

A pleasant DMV experience + Leg Analyst search continues + What’s in the budget?

California DMV customers angry over rising wait times

Customers across California are experiencing rising wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles. People at the Sacramento South field office on July 26, 2018 were particularly frustrated.
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Customers across California are experiencing rising wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles. People at the Sacramento South field office on July 26, 2018 were particularly frustrated.

Thanks to Sophia Bollag for filling in for the newsletter the other day. I’m locked and loaded with cough drops. Here’s what you need to know today…


There were lines wrapping around the building, pandemonium inside the jam-packed waiting area and profound frustration from customers.

That was the experience I had when I did the first DMV story back in July at the Sacramento South location. Four and a half months and 17 articles later, things have changed quite a bit.

At long last, I decided to go in for myself to get a Real ID. Without an appointment, I was in and out of the building in just over an hour. This pales in comparison to the customers I met this summer who waited north of six hours.

I arrived at 8:50 a.m. and got to the front of the line 13 minutes later, where I was redirected to the testing room to fill out an online application. I then got my service number at 9:11 a.m. The online wait time tracker told me I’d have to wait 12 minutes, though I ended up waiting for 22.

The only minor hurdles that emerged came when I walked up to the window at 9:33 a.m. The clerk could not find my North Carolina driver’s license number I had received in April, so he decided to go ahead and use my soon-to-be-expired California license. I came prepared with all the documents I needed for the Real ID and had my photo taken at 9:55 a.m.

Overall thoughts:

  • Wait was much less than expected
  • DMV workers were friendly and helpful
  • Still a few inefficiencies
  • Technological issues remain a problems, as it takes time to get forms copied and verified
  • I was a bit surprised there was no text message notification rollout at the location I visited. The clerk told me the office hadn’t gotten that technology yet

A few lessons:

  • Make an appointment if your business isn’t urgent. On Monday, the first available appointment was Feb. 4.
  • I could have saved some time if I filled out my license renewal application online before I arrived
  • A woman to the right of me could not get a Real ID because she didn’t bring the proper documents. Here’s a helpful checklist of what to bring
  • The DMV would not accept my credit card, saying it takes debit or cash
  • For a minute, I was in the wrong line. There are separate areas for people with and without appointments. I was not directed by an employee to the proper line, so I had to figure out for myself where to go. Unless you like delays, make sure you’re in the correct line
  • Millions of people still do not have Real IDs. If you want to continue boarding planes without a passport, you’ll need to get a Real ID by Oct. 1, 2020


Who will be the next legislative analyst? We won’t know for a little longer. The committee tasked with reviewing the 34 applications and making a selection to replace Mac Taylor held its second meeting on Monday, chaired by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. Mitchell’s spokesman, Ray Sotero, said the committee wants to appoint Taylor’s replacement by the end of the year, but it may not be until early 2019 when a successor is named.


The California Budget & Policy Center is hosting an event from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Speakers will discuss what the public can expect when lawmakers return to Sacramento in 2019 and work under a Gavin Newsom governorship. Scott Graves, the center’s director of research, will talk about the basics of the state’s budget process in the first session. After that, five panelists will outline expectations. Among the speakers will be Chris Woods, budget director for Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.


Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) — “McCarthy urges House Dems to not investigate Trump: “I think America is too great of a nation to have such a small agenda. I think there are other problems out there that we should be focused on… we’ve investigated this for a long time.”

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