MURRAY – Although many circuit court clerks’ offices in Kentucky are currently transitioning out of granting driver’s licenses, you’ll still be able to renew standard licenses and IDs at the Calloway Circuit Clerk’s Office at least through the end of this month and possibly longer.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is currently implementing a phased transfer of licensing services from local circuit court clerks’ offices to KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices. All counties will transfer services to regional offices by June 30, 2022, and a list of counties that have already made that transfer is available at drive.ky.gov/pages/circuit-clerks.aspx. Paducah’s regional office is currently the closest one to Calloway County, but Calloway Circuit Clerk Linda Avery said she still doesn’t know when her office in the Calloway County Judicial Building will cease granting licenses.
“I’m going month to month,” Avery said. “They have already announced the counties that are going (to transition out of administering driver’s licenses and IDs) in October, and I’m not one of them. I know I’ll still have it through October.”
Avery said she expects she will probably be informed of the timeline for Calloway’s transition about 4-6 weeks before the date. Since the deadline to transition all circuit clerks’ offices in the state isn’t until the end of June, Avery said she could receive the news from KYTC any time between now and next summer. Even though local residents will have to get used to the change, Avery said she does think a new service expanding options for Kentuckians to renew their state driver’s licenses and ID cards remotely through a mail-in renewal program is a positive development. Gov. Andy Beshear announced the new service last Thursday, and it launched the next day on Oct. 1.
“I won’t know (the transition date) until about four to six weeks out,” Avery said. “But the good thing – and I keep telling people this – I know this is an aggravation and I know it’s change, but when when we get through the pains of change, it is going to be better. One of the improvements is that you can renew by mail. My niece let her license expire the other day and she called and asked, ‘What time do you start issuing licenses?’ I said, ‘Why don’t you do it online?’ I got a text from her (Monday) morning: ‘It worked!’”
The revamped mail-in service is administered solely by KYTC, and a news release said it is one of the modern conveniences available to Kentuckians as a result of the phased transfer to the KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices.
“This new era of driver licensing is ushering in expanded services to give Kentuckians more options on how they want to be served,” Beshear said in the release. “The mail-in program builds upon the successful summer launch of Kentucky’s first online driver’s license renewal service. Both services maximize convenience by helping the majority of cardholders tackle an important to-do on their own time without visiting a licensing office.”
Online and mail-in renewals were not allowed in Kentucky before COVID-19, but Avery said that was one positive change to come out of the pandemic. She said this was part of an arrangement worked our between Beshear and Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton.
“After COVID, the clerks asked the chief justice to work with the governor to figure out a way that we could renew by mail so that people didn’t have to come into our office at the height of COVID,” Avery said. “As far as I know, that was the very first time Kentucky had ever issued anything by mail. So moving forward, they’ve now made that something you can do online every other time. You have to renew exactly the document you have, so you couldn’t go from a standard license to a REAL ID, but you can renew your standard license or your REAL ID online.
“They also told us (in the past) we had to have the person standing in front of us before we could issue. Now, that became a problem for people who were in Florida or Timbuktu who had their wallet stolen. Now you can take that form and you can request a duplicate by mail, and they will mail it to the address that’s on your license. Those are two good things to come out of this transition.”
Avery said the KYTC also has plans to periodically a send a mobile driver’s licensing unit to counties without a regional office, although she doesn’t know when that plan might be implemented.
“So wherever that mobile unit sets up, you’ll be able to go and make transactions with the Transportation Cabinet,” Avery said. “They’re still testing when they’re going to roll it out, but they have put information about it on their website. So that’s something else that’s going to be helpful since, odds are, we’re not going to have a regional office in Murray.’”
Avery added that although it doesn’t look likely at this point that a regional office would open in Murray, it is at least possible in theory that it could sometime in the future if the KYTC decided to do so.
KYTC said the mail-in program offers the following services:
• Renewal of a four-year driver’s license, combo motorcycle/operator license, ID card.
• Card must expire within six months – or have been expired for less than a year – and the applicant wants to maintain the same card version as their current license (standard or REAL ID).
• Request new driver’s license, combo motorcycle/operator license, ID card if you need to update your address. One valid proof of address change is required.
• Kentuckians requesting a license replacement (lost/stolen cards). Card will be mailed to the address on file.
• Hard-copy cards will be mailed within 10-15 business days after successful processing.