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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Attorney General Candidates Call For Changes To Motor Vehicle Division

Montana Attorney General Candidates (L to R) Austin Knudsen and Raph Graybill
Montana Attorney General Candidates (L to R) Austin Knudsen and Raph Graybill

The candidates for Attorney General say changes are needed in Montana’s Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division to make it more user friendly and efficient.

Democrat Raph Graybill released a plan last week calling for reversing budget cuts to the MVD made during the 2017 legislative session, which Graybill says directly led to longer wait times at the agency. The agency lost about half of its operating budget and a 3 percent administrative fee was added to all services to help offset some of the lost funds by next year.

Graybill spoke during a press conference in Missoula.

"The reason we’re here is that Montanans have been noticing over the last four or so years that it’s taking weeks, if not months, to get an appointment to get into the DMV and get a new driver's license."

Graybill’s proposal calls for making permanent the online renewal process MVD adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also wants to start a pilot program to allow for electronic titling of vehicles. 

Graybill also supports getting rid of the state’s fee on REAL IDs, which would need legislative approval. All Montana residents will need a REAL ID to board a plane by next October. 

Republican candidate Austin Knudsen has also called for changes at the MVD. He declined to be interviewed for this story. 

During a debate between the Attorney General candidates hosted by MTN News last month, Knudsen said he’s heard Montanans talk about change needed at the motor agency. 

"They are frustrated with the time it takes them to get their driver's license and the time it takes them to get new titles on their vehicles. We’ve got to get the bloat out of that Helena office and make that office more efficient."

Knudsen did not elaborate on how he would make the department more efficient. Knudsen has previously said he wants to reduce bureaucracy and spending at the Department of Justice.