Legislators feel DMV computer woes

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Today: January 10, 2000 at 11:10:24 PST

Legislators feel DMV computer woes


CARSON CITY -- The Genesis jinx has struck again.

Nevada's 63 legislators are the latest victims to be caught in a vortex of the much-maligned new computer system at the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety.

All lawmakers are entitled to a free license plate that notes whether they are in the Senate or Assembly and where they stand on the seniority list. For instance the legislator who has served in the Senate the longest has a "1" on the plate and the same holds true for the Assembly.

They are usually renewed at the beginning of each year free of charge. But not this year, the first with the new Genesis computer system.

The department confirmed it sent each lawmaker a bill for $167 charged for ownership of a nonexistent 1998 Mercury in Lyon County.

"The computer generated the renewal in error, but it was an easy fix," Kim Evans, public information officer for the department, said.

Legislators' plates in the past were done by hand. But when they were put in the computer, there was a human error, Evans said Friday.

"We're sorry," she said.

"That's pretty funny," said Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, who heads a legislative subcommittee overseeing the progress on Genesis. He said he has not received his bill yet, but it takes a little time for it to get to his legislative mailbox.

Lawmakers, even though they have the special plates on the outside of their vehicles, must keep their regular plates up to date and inside the vehicle, Evans said.

When the Genesis computer system came online last September, it contributed to long lines to register cars or get driver's licenses and produced incorrect information in some cases. But things have gotten better.

The long lines have shortened, Beers said Sunday, but they "are still a little longer than they use to be" before the new system kicked in. He said the problems with issuing the titles appears to be solved.

The complaints he said he's receiving now are from people who were overcharged by the agency in the early days of the computer switchover. "My constituents are wondering why it takes so long to get a refund," he said. "They are growing impatient."

Beers said he hopes the department is just four to five months away from new technology to allow motorists to renew their motor vehicle registration and driver's license by telephone or computer. In Clark and Washoe counties, the department is working to allow smog check stations to process renewal of car registrations.

That will reduce customer visits to the offices of the agency and mean shorter lines, he said.

His subcommittee will hold a hearing Feb. 1 in Carson City to review the progress of Genesis and to consider a reorganization plan for the department.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), January 10, 2000


If you REALLY want to see some action, you could start overcharging the members of the state legislature! Talk about high profile!

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), January 10, 2000.

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