Driver’s licenses can be renewed remotely; courts talk masks, other issue

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release)  — Circuit Court clerks across he state can start processing driver’s license renewals remotely starting June 1 and it will continue through July 31, according to an order issued Friday.

Gov. Andy Beshear discussed the move during his daily briefing Friday, saying it, in part, is a lesson learned from the coronavirus shutdown.

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“We’ve learned we can do a lot of things remotely,” Beshear said, noting applying by mail will be more convenient for “thousands of Kentuckians.”

Licenses that expire between March 1 and June 30 can be renewed by mail through July 31.

The order temporarily authorizes circuit court clerk offices to process expired driving credential renewals and replacement requests remotely.

For more information, click here.

This order is the next right step to help clerks safely serve Kentuckians impacted by the office closures caused by the pandemic, said Gov. Beshear. The temporary measure will allow contactless service to help minimize crowding and help offices gradually return to full-service operations.

The state Supreme Court made a number of other changes in orders Friday updating its gradual reopening to begin June 1 that it first authorized May 15.

The orders cover everything from wearing masks to continued use of teleconferencing.

“As the Judicial Branch carefully expands court services, we want to proceed with the utmost care,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “I appreciate the patience of the legal community, the public, and court officials and personnel as we work to ensure that greater access to the courts and public safety go hand in hand.”

The six orders entered today are described below.

Health and Safety Requirements for the Expansion of Operations

Administrative Order 2020-43, dated May 29, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-39, dated May 15, 2020. This order updates the Health and Safety Requirements for the Expansion of Operations. It is effective June 1, 2020, and the highlights are below: 

Ø  Clarifies that remote proceedings should be scheduled through the judge’s office.

Ø  Clarifies that individuals who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID, are in quarantine, or have been diagnosed with COVID must be allowed to participate remotely.

Ø  Expands entrance to court facilities to individuals seeking orders under KRS 222.430 et seq. (Casey’s law) and involuntary commitments under KRS Chapter 202A and KRS Chapter 645; individuals attending judicial sales; attorneys or parties to a case who need access to a physical case file and have scheduled an appointment with the local Office of Circuit Court Clerk; and, after June 15, 2020, other individuals who need access to a physical case file and have scheduled an appointment with the local Office of Circuit Court Clerk.

Ø  Allows for resumption of limited driver’s licenses services as of June 1, 2020, as provided in Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Order 2020-215.

Ø  Encourages collaboration between clerks and judges to ensure there is sufficient staffing to cover in-person dockets.

Ø  Clarifies that facial coverings are required for attorneys and that facial coverings must be worn in any location where court proceedings are being held.

Ø  Clarifies the process for submitting local protocols.

Ø  Provides an email address where concerns regarding application or implementation of the Order may be submitted. 

Expansion of Court Proceedings

Administrative Order 2020-44, dated May 29, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-40, dated May 19, 2020. This order updates the Expansion of  Court Proceedings, which previously only addressed the postponement of jury trials and grand juries. The order is effective June 1, 2020, and the highlights are below:

Ø  Adds new sections for Civil Matters, Family Matters, and Criminal Matters, with specific guidance on evictions, judicial sales, child support, show cause dockets, and bench warrants.

Ø  Clarifies that eviction proceedings that are not subject to state or federal moratoriums and are not related to non-payment of rent for residential properties may be filed as of June 1, with the required Verification of Compliance form.

Ø  Allows judicial sales to proceed as of June 1, subject to the health and safety requirements in Administrative Order 2020-43.

Ø  Gives priority in child support matters to cases that are determining paternity; cases establishing initial child support obligations; cases that are being reopened; and cases in which the obligee’s only financial support is income from employment or unemployment benefits, maintenance support, non-public benefits, or child support. All other child support cases are continued until after October 1, 2020.

Ø  Suspends all show cause dockets for payment of fines and court costs until November 1, 2020.

Ø  Clarifies that judges should continue to issue summonses in lieu of bench warrants, unless the judge has good cause to believe a defendant will not appear voluntarily upon a summons or notice to appear.

Emergency Release Schedule Order
Administrative Order 2020-45, dated May 29, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-27, dated April 23, 2020. This order revises the Emergency Release Schedule for Pretrial Defendants and Emergency Pretrial Drug Testing Standards. It has been extended until further order of the court and the highlights are below:

Ø  Deletes the failure to appear and contempt provisions that were in the previous order.

Ø  Permits pretrial drug testing providers to resume urine drug testing, subject to the Healthy at Work requirements for similar businesses.

Custody and Parenting Time Order, Flexible Staffing Guidelines for Court Clerks Order, Special Emergency Directed Leave Order

The only change to these three orders is that the effective dates have been extended until further order of the court. There are no other substantive changes.

Ø  Amended Parenting Time Order: Administrative Order 2020-46, dated May 29, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-32, dated May 5, 2020.

Ø  Amended Flexible Staffing Order: Administrative Order 2020-47, dated May 29, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-23, dated April 14, 2020.

Ø  Amended Special Directed Emergency Leave Order: Administrative Order 2020-48, dated May 29, 2020, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-24, dated April 14, 2020.