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New House bills introduced to address low staffing, backlog at Michigan SOS branches

Secretary of State
Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 16:41:59-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and other elected officials announced Tuesday new legislation aimed at increasing the capacity for residents to be served at branch offices.

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House Bill 4946, which was introduced by Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit), would provide overtime funding for staff at all Michigan branches. This would add 290,000 new appointments between now and Sept. 30.

Additionally, House Bill 4946, which was introduced by Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Twp.), focuses on increasing staffing at all branches, which would add 290,000 new appointments between now and Sept. 30.

There has been growing criticism regarding appointment-only options for Michigan secretary of state branches, which was introduced during the pandemic.

In May, Benson testified before the Michigan House Oversight Committee regarding the newly adopted system. Michiganders have expressed frustrations with appointment availability, putting some residents sometimes months behind in updating necessary motor vehicle and license documentation.

The new bill would address severe staff shortages at SOS branches and a backlog of transactions.

“The path forward is clear: increase the number of appointments available so that they are abundant and easy to schedule and reduce the need for residents to visit our offices at all,” Benson said. “Representatives Brixie and Young propose a much-needed investment in our infrastructure that adds half a million appointments between now and October. This would eliminate the backlog and free up advance and next-day appointments to be available on-demand, getting us closer to a point where the supply of in-person transactions our offices can provide meets the needs of our residents.”

Staff cut-backs over recent decades were exacerbated by the start of the pandemic in 2020, a release states.