Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Senate: Extend lapsed licenses, plates; keep walk-in option
0 Comments
AP

Senate: Extend lapsed licenses, plates; keep walk-in option

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Senate: Extend lapsed licenses, plates; keep walk-in option

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2020, file photo, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in Detroit. Benson said Tuesday, June 8, 2021, her office is adding 350,000 appointments over nearly four months to address a pandemic-related backlog as Michigan residents try to renew driver's licenses, transfer vehicle titles and conduct other business in person.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate voted Thursday to give drivers more time to renew expired licenses and vehicle registrations during the coronavirus pandemic and to pressure Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to restore people's ability to visit branches without an appointment.

The bills won approval from all 19 Republicans in the majority and six of 16 Democrats. The voting came days after Benson, who opposes a return to a “broken” take-a-number system but is facing legislative criticism, said greeters have been stationed outside busier offices to help motorists book an appointment if they did not make one online or by phone.

The legislation headed to the GOP-led House would extend the expiration date of plates, driver's licenses and state ID cards that expired after March 1, 2020, to Sept. 30. A 13-month grace period ended March 31, leading to a backlog as residents seek to conduct transactions.

Benson, a Democrat, is adding 350,000 appointment slots and letting people who need a disability placard come with no appointment. But lawmakers, particularly Republicans, say there should again be a walk-in option for everyone.

The bills would require Benson to submit a report detailing a plan to reopen all branches for in-person services without an appointment. The Department of State could not charge late renewal fees for plates, driver's licenses and ID cards until walk-in business is offered at least eight hours each day an office is open.

“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,” said Sen. Ruth Johnson, a Holly Republican and sponsor of one bill.

Benson has said reinstating the walk-in option would not work because staff would be diverted. She renewed her call for legislators to increase her department's funding.

“Frankly, it’s astounding that any senator would force their own constituents backward into a system that already proved a failure,” Benson said in a statement. “In 2018, walk-in service and appointments were both offered 40 hours per week, but average office wait times had tripled and countless residents had no choice but to take time off work and pay for child care to wait in line for hours if not entire days.”

Her office has said expirations should be lengthened on a rolling basis instead of to a single day, to avoid placing pent-up demand on the system after Sept. 30.

———

Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

0 Comments

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

CARBIS BAY, England (AP) — Leaders of the world's largest economies unveiled an infrastructure plan Saturday for the developing world to compete with China’s global initiatives, but they were searching for a consensus on how to forcefully to call out Beijing over human rights abuses.

  • Updated

NEWQUAY, England (AP) — President Joe Biden on Sunday said the United States had restored its presence on the world stage as he used his first overseas trip since taking office to connect with a new generation of leaders from some of the world’s most powerful countries and more closely unite allies on addressing the coronavirus pandemic and China’s trade and labor practices.

  • Updated

With the Connecticut House of Representatives poised to take up a long-awaited bill that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults, the Republican leader on Tuesday called for an investigation into how language was tucked into the legislation that could have intentionally benefitted at least one individual.

  • Updated

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris sought to assure poor and threatened populations of Latin America on Tuesday that the United States has "the capacity to give people a sense of hope” in the region so they can make better lives without fleeing to the U.S. border.

  • Updated

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AP) — A technical problem that involved “no immediate safety issue" forced Vice President Kamala Harris' plane to return to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland about 30 minutes after she had left Sunday on a trip to Guatemala and Mexico.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alerts