SPOKANE, Wash.-- Washington Department of Licensing offices have been closed since March. While many services are still available online, not all are. KHQ viewers continue to reach out to our 'Help Me Hayley' to voice their frustrations over a lack of clarity regarding when the Department of Licensing will reopen. We have learned the DOL offices are set to reopen in phase three, but DOL reps are providing no guidance on why offices remain closed even in counties who have been approved for phase three.
Hayley has repeatedly reached out to communications personnel within the DOL, and was told Monday, "There remains no timetable for the reopening of driver licensing offices, but DOL is developing a plan under the governor's "Safe Start - Stay Healthy" guidelines. There are a number of actions that can be done online, and a number of extensions for driver licenses and today, instruction permits, have been made."
It took a rep from Governor Inslee's office to finally get information that the DOL offices were in fact in phase three. With multiple counties already there, Hayley inquired about why offices in those counties have not reopened. She was told, "As I said before, we are working on a reopening plan, and when we have news to share, I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m sorry I don’t have more specific details at this time."
Hayley is working on getting more answers and clarification for you, our viewers, as we know this is an important issue for so many.
Hayley has been working on this story since early May.
Since then, emails, messages, and calls have continued to come in from frustrated viewers. Here is a small portion from just the past few days.
Leo writes, in part, "Essentially, my position is that this is completely unacceptable that the DOL leadership and the Governor have not posted the plan or provided any information to the public. How could the state have plans for fitness centers and restaurants and not DOL offices? This is crazy, not fair to the people needing these services that have been paid for by taxpayers, and also to waste the resources having people sitting around taking thousands of calls to tell people that they 'don't have any idea' what is going on."
Shauna echoes Leo's struggles to get any answers. Her note to Hayley stating, "I have written to the governor’s office, tried to email to no avail. This is a huge issue for so many in this state and nobody that has a platform is asking about nor putting any pressure on Gov Inslee. People like you are in a position to do so. Please go to DOL’s Facebook page and read the hundreds of comments made by people just like me trying to figure out what is going on with DOL and what to do."
This not only affects new drivers but out of state drivers moving to Washington and drivers trying to get their commercial licenses for new jobs.
Janessa is hoping for more coverage too. Her email to Hayley says, "My family is going through the same problems in WA state with getting my driver's license. My dad is in the military and gone most days on duty. It's hard for him to do work and also get me to where I need to go at the same time. is there any contact info or anything you could give me to help me get my license? I passed all of my tests and now they are telling me I cannot get my license until the DOL opens. It's very frustrating and it's stressing my family out. PLEASE HELP."
Kristy sharing similar frustrations, writing in part, "We are in the same boat DOL customer service agents have no information and no power to get answers from the governor. Many counties have been approved for Phase 3, and it seems like the DOL should be opening. Thanks for any help you can provide on this topic."
Ron is also struggling to get any concrete answers. His email to Hayley reads, "Wondering if you ever got an answer from the dol. We have the same issue with our grandson. Did everything right but is being punished for no fault of his. If you have any suggestion please let me know."
After Hayley received the information featured above from the DOL Monday, she reached out to a rep for Governor Inslee and got that clarification stating the DOL offices are part of phase three. She asked if residents could travel outside of their counties to a location where DOL offices are back at it to take care of business. She was told, "that is not encouraged, but it is legal."