LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Ruth Johnson’s legislation as part of a 3-bill package to extend the expiration date of Michigan driver’s licenses, personal identification cards and vehicle registrations.
“These bills will hold people harmless if they can’t get their renewals done on time because of Secretary Benson’s refusal to reopen offices for same-day services,” said Johnson, who also previously served as secretary of state until 2019. “By extending the expiration date for driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, we can ensure Michigan drivers don’t getting punished with a $200 ticket or a late fee because they couldn’t get an appointment at the secretary of state in time.”
Many transactions still need to be done in-person at a branch office, including getting a new driver’s license or state ID, renewing a license or ID when a new photo or eye test is needed, or paying cash for services when customers do not have a credit card or checking account.
Johnson’s bill, Senate Bill 508, would extend the expiration of enhanced licenses and state ID cards until Sept. 30. The move would be retroactive to April 1. SB 507 would make the same extension to driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, and SB 509 would apply the extension to standard state ID cards.
“While it was good to see the secretary of state finally listening to Michigan families, adding more appointment slots for branch offices, and prioritizing services for people with disabilities — it’s not enough,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “The secretary of state created this issue and 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.”
Under SBs 507 and 508, late fees would be waived until branch offices offer at least 8 hours of same-day, walk-in services each day a branch office is open with no appointment required.
The fines for driving on an expired license or registration often exceed $200. While some law enforcement officers are aware of the secretary of state issues and have shown leniency, many residents still face tickets.