Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen appeared on the KGVO talk Back show on Tuesday to answer questions from listeners.

One question had to do with the long wait times for license plate and drivers licenses. Knudsen said the wait times are actually going down, but they are still too long.

“Call times have shortened,” said Knudsen. “Wait times have shortened. Now, they're still really backed up. I know the county courthouses are still very stretched, and their scheduling is pushed way out. So, we're looking at extending your renewal times and your temporary times out further, just because I think we're going to have to. I don't think there's any way we're going to catch up in time, for people to not have expired tags or expired registrations.”

On the subject of driver’s licenses, Knudsen said there are some solutions being considered.

“We’re seriously discussing extending the time your driver's license lasts,” he said. “That's going to do a couple things for us.  Right now we're on an eight year cycle, so your driver's license is good for eight years. We're asking the question, why not push that out another three or four years? That's going to save the state money. That's going to make it more convenient for people right now, especially when the wait lines are so long.”

One caller complained about the lack of Montana Highway Patrol troopers available to keep the speeds down on Highway 93 in the Bitterroot Valley.

“I'll tell you what I'm going to do,” he said. “I will take this to Colonel Lavin and we will. I will try my best to get some more, some more Highway Patrol troopers down there, because it's not safe. There's a reason those limits are posted to slow down through those towns and they need to be followed. So, point well taken and we'll get on it now.”

Knudsen also brought up a troubling aspect of the passage of the recreational marijuana initiative; the effect it will have on the Montana Highway Patrol interdiction efforts, specifically, the K-9 officers.

“Bluntly the problem we've got now is that K-9 is likely rendered useless because of I- 190 passing; the recreational marijuana initiative,” he said. “Those dogs are trained to sniff out all kinds of narcotics and that includes marijuana, so now we've got a situation where marijuana has been legalized and will be effective next year. That's going to render a lot of these drug dogs useless, unfortunately.”

Knudsen said he looks forward to answering questions from the KGVO audience during his monthly calls.

 

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