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Michigan lawmakers approve driver’s license, ID card, vehicle registration extension

 (Michigan Secretary of State Photo)
(Michigan Secretary of State Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 1:31 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Legislature has approved a three-bill package that would extend the expiration dates of driver’s licenses, state ID cards and vehicle registrations.

The extensions are designed to help the Secretary of State’s Office deal with a massive backlog of transactions. The bills now head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who can sign them into law or veto them.

“People should not pay the price for the secretary of state’s failures. She needs to fix the system so that people can get service in a timely manner,” said Republican State Sen. Ruth Johnson. “These bills will ensure Michigan drivers are not punished with a $200 ticket or a late fee simply because they couldn’t get an appointment at a secretary of state office before their license or registration expired.”

The extensions would last for up to 120 days retroactive to April 1 and continuing through Aug. 1 if Whitmer signs the Senate Bills 507 to 509 into law. Any late fees or fines accrued on licenses, ID cards and registrations during that time would be waived.

Republicans have been pushing Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to abandon an appointment only program for all 170 branch offices across the state. While walk-in customers can be served if an employee is available, appointments are necessary for in-person transactions.

The three Republican bills approved Thursday would continue waiving late fees until Benson allows same-day walk-in service with no appointments each day they are open.

“The secretary of state created this problem when she decided to end same-day services and go to an appointment-only system,” said Johnson, who also previously served as Michigan secretary of state until 2019. “She needs to fix it. In the meantime, these reforms will protect Michigan families by extending the expiration date for driver’s licenses, state IDs and vehicle registrations.”

Most vehicle registration and driver’s license renewals can be completed online or using a Secretary of State kiosk in grocery stores around Michigan. But residents still need to visit a branch office for an updated ID photo and eye test periodically or to pay for the renewal in cash.

Some transactions related to vehicles also must be completed in person.

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