State Senate Passes Bills That Would Waive Fees, Extend License Registration, & Demand Walk-In SOS Appointments
Just days after Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that her offices would open up another 350,000 appointments for Michiganders needing services, the state senate passed a package of bills that would extend license & registration times, waive some fees, and possibly force walk-in appointments at SOS locations despite Benson's recent moves away from them.
The state Senate passed two of the bills 25-10 and the third bill 32-3 with bipartisan support in the GOP-led initiative. Those bills would allow an extension to expired vehicle registrations and expired driver's licenses. Any licenses or registrations that expired after March 2020 would be valid until the end of September.
The bills also tie the ability of the Secretary Of State's office to implement late fees to in-person walk-up appointment availability. If the offices are unavailable for walk-ups, it could cost the department about $5 Million a month.
Benson would also be required to supply a report to the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairpersons of the Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committees within 30 days of the law's passage.
This would effectively have her checking in with the GOP-led Senate & House and the plan would require the 'walk-in' appointment element that many say is necessary to serve Michigan's citizens.
Current state Senator Ruth Johnson, who served as Secretary of State for eight years under Governor Rick Snyder, said in a statement that this is Benson's mess to fix:
...she needs to fix it. The decision to end same-day services and go to an appointment-only system does not work when people still can’t get an appointment for months in many areas.
The bill must still be passed by the state House of Representatives and signed by Governor Whitmer in order to become law.