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NJ Assembly Panel Advances Bill to Require MVC to Designate Appointment Times for Seniors to Receive REAL IDs During COVID-19 Pandemic

With the goal to ensure seniors and residents with certain medical conditions can safely obtain drivers licenses, probationary licenses or identification cards with REAL ID, the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on Monday approved legislation to require the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to designate REAL ID appointment windows solely for this population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning October 1, 2021, travelers will need to show a REAL ID or passport to board an airplane for domestic travel. The new federal requirement is aimed to prevent fraudulent identification.

“With the deadline to get a REAL ID quickly approaching, it’s more than likely that people will need to visit the MVC while COVID-19 is still very much a part of our daily lives,” said Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), sponsor of the legislation and chair of the Transportation Committee. “Many seniors and people with at-risk conditions are wary to visit a MVC agency in person. We understand their concerns and want them to feel safe visiting the MVC and obtaining this important identification before the deadline.”

Under the measure (A-4742), the MVC would reserve one day a week or a certain time each day or week at specific locations for REAL ID appointments for seniors over age 65 and people with medical conditions that prevent them for being able to wear masks.

The bill is also sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle.

“Even with COVID-19 safety precautions, it’s understandable why some vulnerable residents would feel uncomfortable going to an MVC agency during this pandemic, especially amid reports of lengthy wait times,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) “Designating REAL ID appointment windows for seniors and at-risk residents will limit crowds, reduce wait times and create a more comfortable environment for them to complete their REAL ID transaction.”

The bill would take effect immediately and would expire at the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. It now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further review.

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