With Democrats’ help, California DMV dodges audit of wait times

Despite complaints about escalating wait times for thousands of customers at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, state lawmakers sided with the Brown administration Wednesday and refused to order an official audit into its management.

The audit request needed at least eight supporters from the Joint Legislative Audit Committee — four from the Assembly and four from the Senate — for approval. After two hours of debate, the request fell one vote shy. Assembly members approved the request, but three Democratic state senators did not vote, effectively killing the measure.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, has been a vocal critic of the DMV and led the charge supporting the audit. He said Gov. Jerry Brown was to blame for his refusal to chime in on the issue.

In a budget hearing on Tuesday, the administration’s DMV director, Jean Shiomoto, claimed an audit would “strain” department resources and take focus away from reducing wait times.

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