The lines will only get longer at your neighborhood DMV office. The department recently ended its Saturday hours, and is now planning to close on the first and third Fridays of every month, starting this Friday, February 6th. The biweekly furloughs could continue through June, 2010.
Lines at the DMV office on Normal Street in Hillcrest were outside the door today, as they are on many days. Some customers now wait hours to renew their driver's licenses or register a car. And those wait-times will only get worse, because motorists who were planning to get their paperwork done on Friday will now have to delay that visit until next Monday.
The Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) is also closing its offices on Friday. A spokesman says there will be "skeleton" maintenance crews at work on local highways, handling only emergency calls. That means there could be more trash and broken signs and guard rails, because road crews will have to play "catch-up" when they return to work on Monday.
Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave offices will also be closed on Friday. But the state's "One-Stop Career Centers" will be open because they are staffed in part by non-state employees. And information about state Unemployment Insurance will still be available by phone and on-line.
If state leaders reach a compromise on a new state budget before Friday, the Governor might call off the furlough program, so state offices will remain open on Friday.
Meanwhile, if you need help from a state agency, remember that you can get much of the information and many of the forms you need by visiting the department's website. The DMV's website is: www.dmv.ca.gov.