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1/6/2010 Assembly overrides veto, calls for DMV in Westerly
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly has enacted legislation, over the veto of the governor, to require the administrator of the Division of Motor Vehicles to maintain an office in Westerly at least one day per week.

The House and Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to override the veto and enact legislation sponsored by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly). A companion bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere (R-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown).

The act, which takes immediate effect, requires the DMV to “maintain branch offices in Westerly and … keep the Westerly office open at least one day per week.”

The governor, in his veto message on the legislation passed during the 2009 session, objected to “initiatives that would increase an already significant strain on state resources” and said the decision to close the Westerly office was “based on a business decision” that took into account the volume of business, the location and the Westerly office’s proximity to the Wakefield branch.

When they first proposed the legislation, the two sponsors said they were fighting for the Westerly office to help ease the burden to South County residents, especially seniors, that its closing had caused. Without the Westerly office, they said, South County residents have to travel to Warwick to conduct in-person registry business if they are unable to get to the Wakefield branch office, which itself is open only two days each week.

They also said that the southern portion of the state has shown the most population growth during the past decade or more and, as a result, the Westerly Registry office was not a small operation but rather serviced thousands of state residents.

The Westerly DMV office was closed by the state a little more than a year ago.

The Town of Westerly has already offered the state free rent and utilities on a site to house the DMV office.

For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457