Covid–19 cases have dropped steadily in Michigan, but the pandemic is still having a very real impact.
The Michigan Secretary of State is still has backlog of in–person appointments for transactions that cannot be done online.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle acknowledge the problem.
Republicans think SOS branches should be open for walk–in service.
Democrats are seeking federal stimulus funds to hire more staffers and increase the number of branch appointments.
State House Democrat Sara Cambensy weighed in and suggested there could be a compromise.
“We have Democrats and Republicans that believe that if we at least got back to a blended option, you wouldn’t have the frustration, you wouldn’t have the anger, and then you could actually accommodate people on how they like to be served,” said Cambensy “Once we could see that people are getting in and getting their business done, do we need to actually pro-rate actual money? I think that’s a fair way to look at it, rather than throw money at something where we obviously feel there’s an issue with an administrative policy.”
Pieces of legislation have been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate to try and solve the problem.
The bills range from spending millions to hire new workers and pay for overtime to extending the expiration date on drivers licenses and personal identification cards.
“You’re going to see a lot of bills come out over the next month before we break for the summer. For me, I tend to agree with my colleagues that instead of just throwing money at this issue, we want to make sure our constituent’s voices are heard,” Cambensy said. “They would like a blended option. We understand we could save a lot of time by having that online option and bring people up to speed who are willing and able to do it. But, we still need, before we throw extra money at it, extended hours and to increase the Secretary of State’s budget to go back and revisit why we don’t have some in-person options.”
Earlier this week, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson added “Appointment Availability” which added 350,000 additional appointments and helps people with disabilities receive placards quicker.
Benson has said that she will not go back to the “Take a Number and Wait” system.