LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation that would help Michiganders who have struggled to get into secretary of state branches.
“People are waiting months for a five-minute, in-and-out appointment. It’s not only inefficient, but it’s insulting to those who are seeking the most basic of government services,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “It’s time we open the doors and get people in to get what they need.”
The three-bill package would extend the expiration of Michigan driver’s licenses and personal identification cards and require Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to reopen branch offices to walk-in, in-person services.
Senate Bill 507 would extend the expiration of driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations until Sept. 30. The move would be retroactive to April 1. SB 508 would make the same extension to enhanced licenses and state ID cards, and SB 509 would apply the extension to standard state ID cards.
Under SBs 507 and 508, late fees would be waived until branch offices offer at least 25 hours per week of same-day, walk-in services with no appointment required. SB 507 would also stop the secretary of state from collecting certain service fees until SOS branch offices meet the 25-hour weekly requirement.
“Every day that goes by, the number of people needing service from the department continues to grow,” Bumstead said. “If Secretary Benson continues with these policies, this backlog will grow by the day, and people will continue to get tickets and be otherwise punished because of her dereliction of duty. People should not be held responsible when the only thing preventing them from doing what they need to do is their own government — and unfortunately, that is why this legislation is necessary.”
The Senate added a requirement in the upcoming budget that the department must offer in-person services without an appointment in order to receive funds for branch operations. However, the budget requirement won’t take effect until the beginning of fiscal year 2022 on Oct. 1. In the meantime, Bumstead said it is important that people make their voices heard and let Secretary Benson know they are not in favor of her policies.
“I think the public has done well making Secretary Benson aware of their disappointment with her department, but until something is done, I am encouraging people to let her office know they are not happy with the service they are receiving,” Bumstead said.
Those who wish to comment can submit their comments on Secretary Benson’s policies at www.misenategop.com/openupsos.