by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills dealing with the consequences of a 15-months backlog at the Secretary of State’s office extending the validation of state driver’s licenses and ID cards.
“The pandemic was tough on all of us, and these bills put Michigan drivers first by giving Michiganders the flexibility they need to renew their drivers license and IDs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “It is crucial that we continue to offer services at our Secretary of State that fit the needs of all residents as we move forward.”
The three bills add 120 days of validity for the documents expired between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.
Senate Bill (SB) 507 extends the validity of an operator’s or chauffeur’s license.
SB 508 will extend the validity of an enhanced driver’s license or an enhanced state ID card.
SB 509 will extend the validity of a personal ID card and an enhanced driver’s license.
“We are glad to be entering a new era of services at our offices that are more efficient and convenient than ever before,” SOS Jocelyn Benson said in a statement. “With this legislation we are able to extend the expiration of all vehicle registrations, driver licenses and state IDs to 120 days after an original expiration date between March 31 and August 1 of this year, and waive late fees or refund them retroactively to residents impacted by pandemic restrictions. All our offices are open to any residents who need in-person services, which they can access by walking up or scheduling their visits online or by phone.”
Thanks to Benson’s changes, many Michiganders can complete SOS services online or by self-serve kiosks. The package follows months of Benson clashing with the GOP-led Legislature after Benson in April targeted the elimination of walk-in appointments but later walked back that idea.
Whitmer signed six additional bills into law.
SB 60 revises the requirements needed for a mechanical contractor’s license, revise the classifications and limitations of a license, and allow credits from certain HVAC programs to be applied toward a mechanical contractor’s license.
SB 372 stops requiring a local exchange service provider to provide a free printed phone book to every customer who requests one.
SB 459 allows an application for a neighborhood enterprise zone (NEZ) certificate to be filed after a building permit has already been issued for the project.
HB 4735 amends the Michigan Memorial Highway Act to designate a portion of Highway US-127 as the “PFC Ronald James Fitch Memorial Highway” as well as designate a portion of Highway M-50 in Eaton County as the “Ensign Francis Flaherty Memorial Highway.”
HB 4656 allows the 25th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Marquette County, to have one additional judge beginning January 1, 2023, which will allow for further distribution of judicial caseload assignments for the circuit.
HB 4980 amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to allow drag racing at Silver Lake State Park’s scramble area.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.