LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall on Thursday joined Sens. Kevin Daley and Ruth Johnson in introducing legislation to help Michiganders who have struggled to get into secretary of state branches.
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.
“For over a year, Michigan residents have been overly burdened by the unreasonable barriers put in place by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “People are being forced to drive with expired licenses and postpone other necessary services because no one can get into a branch office. These bills will not hold Michiganders accountable if they can’t get their license, ID or registration renewed due to Secretary Benson’s poor customer service.”
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, which VanderWall sponsored, 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.
VanderWall said these bills are needed because many transactions still need to be completed in an office but wait times in the 35th District range from six to 18 weeks.
“People just simply don’t have that long to wait,” VanderWall said. “What we have seen from Secretary Benson is a nothing short of a dereliction of duty, and Michigan residents should not be punished for that.”