When Wendy Graney became Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk in January, she took over an office that manages lawsuits, criminal cases and other court records. She also moved to the front line of sweeping changes to Kentucky driver’s licenses.
The state’s 120 circuit clerks long have handled new licenses and renewals, a process that for most drivers has meant turning in their expiring card every four years, taking a picture and leaving with an updated one. But that’s ending as Kentucky tries to meet a 9/11-era requirement for states to make their identification documents more secure.
Although the new rules are mandated by the U.S government and overseen by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, local clerks will be the face of an entirely new system of getting a driver’s license, set to start in April.
In Shelby County, Graney said she is preparing by training all her staff on how to process driver’s licenses. “We’re going to do the best we can,” she said. “We’re going to try and make it as easy for our citizens as possible. “This is such a complicated and huge change. Anytime there’s change you’re going to have issues and you’re going to have people who are going to be frustrated.”
Kentuckians still will apply at their local clerk’s office. But, in some cases, they’ll have to track down documents like social security cards or birth certificates that they may not have used for years. And for people who have changed their names, it could mean having to bring a marriage certificates or divorce decree to their driver’s license branches.