Changes to local tag agencies explained

The implementation of the Real ID combined with the onset of the worst pandemic in over a century has led to long lines, delays, and frustration for Oklahomans renewing driver’s licenses, obtaining a Real ID, or registering vehicles. 

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The Oklahoma Legislature recently passed legislation that attempts to rectify the situation. There has been, however, misinformation about what the changes mean. For example, it was rumored that the local tag agents would lose their businesses since the Oklahoma Tax Commission would take them over and that a plethora of professional licenses would be renewed at those locations.

The Sapulpa Times reached out to Dick White, who operates the Sapulpa Tag Agency, to see if these rumors were in fact true.

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White said: “that’s all wrong…There was House Bill 3419 that passed the House and Senate, and the Governor signed it. It established a new State agency called Service Oklahoma, and it combines the driver’s license services and the motor vehicle services. In other words, this agency will take the place of the Oklahoma Tax Commission Motor Vehicle Division and Department of Public Safety driver’s license services. Both of those services will be handled through the new State agency of Service Oklahoma.”

White said he will no longer be a “tag agent,” instead, he will be a “licensed operator.”

“This change will take effect November 1 for the Department of Public Safety driver’s license services will be under Service Oklahoma. Then on January 1, The motor vehicle division will move over to Service Oklahoma. So titles, tags, all of that will be done January 1 through Service Oklahoma.” 

The Sapulpa Times asked White if local tag agencies would be renewing professional licenses as well as driver’s licenses. “That is proposed where, like a bartender, where they have to renew their permit, they will be able to come into us and renew that without having to go to Oklahoma City or Downtown Tulsa. That is in the future, that is not going to happen on January 1.”

When specifically asked about renewing the license for professionals such as doctors and lawyers, White replied: “I have not heard that all…. I did know that renewing licenses of different types was possible.”

According to White, that could be problematic for smaller tag agencies. He stated that there would be an advisory committee appointed by the Governor to oversee this process and that “nothing in concrete is in place yet.”

The Sapulpa Times also asked him about the need for appointments at his agency while others in surrounding areas do not, as well as why driver’s licenses are no longer printed when renewed.

As to why appointments for driver’s license renewals are required, White said: “We have a number of elderly folks, by doing daily appointments, we don’t have but one or two people waiting in the office for driver’s license services. We don’t want a house full of people waiting around for an hour or so for service.”

The reason driver’s licenses are no longer printed on location is that with the advent of the Real ID, the printer must be in a secure location, which is not possible at local tag agencies.

In a July 20, 2022 article in the Norman Transcript, State Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee, the House author, stated: “The first step is customer service, being able to get this and start getting these products and processes done faster.”