February 12, 2019

Lamont gives limited preview of his 2019 legislation

HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper
HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper
Connecticut state Capitol in Hartford.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday he intends to submit legislation next week to extend the period between drivers' license and motor-vehicle registration renewals, create an election-day holiday and encourage public-private partnerships around transit-oriented development.

Under the rubric of "making state government smarter, more responsive to the needs of residents, and more engaged with the private sector," the governor's office released brief summaries of several bills to be submitted with his budget proposal next week.

"These proposals are reflective of concerns raised by residents to help simplify their lives and cut down on the hassle of accessing certain services, and I'm pleased to be able to help address them," Lamont said.

The governor, who has yet to name a new commissioner of motor vehicles, is proposing to extend the time between license renewals from six to eight years and motor-vehicle registrations from two to three years. He promised the changes during his campaign.

In September, Lamont used the DMV as a metaphor of what was wrong with government bureaucracy.

"You go to the DMV, you wait in those long lines. They often can't answer your question. You walk into DMV a Democrat, you leave a Republican," Lamont said then. "We can do a lot better than this."

Without offering details, Lamont would increase the use of technology to make voter registrations easier and decrease wait times on election day by increasing the number of same-day registration locations. The governor also endorsed making "Election Day a holiday in a cost-neutral way by swapping it with another current state holiday."

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill already has proposed constitutional amendments allowing at least three days of early voting and pre-registration to vote as young as 16, though no votes could be cast before turning 18.

Lamont says he also would expand the number of agencies able to participate in public-private partnerships and simplify their creation, while not saying how. The governor said one goal would be to encourage transit-oriented development along CTfastrak bus routes and the Hartford Line, the commuter rail service between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield.

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