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SOS Benson testifies before committee about long wait times at branch offices, offers remedies

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
Jocelyn Benson for Secretary of State

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testified Thursday before a legislative committee about long wait times at branch offices and some possible remedies.

Benson told the House Oversight Committee the COVID-19 crisis helped put in sharp relief some long-standing problems.Benson said her office is experimenting with staggered hours, pop-up offices, and moving more services online. But she also said, with limited staff and resources, her office can’t meet all the demands when and where people want them.

She said all of those actions require resources to be re-allocated, and that means someone will be inconvenienced.

“We’ve got short-term needs and short-term solutions that we can explore, and then we’ve got long-term vision that I think we can hopefully work towards,” Benson said.

Benson said some possible solutions would require the Legislature’s approval. Her proposal to raise driver’s license record search fees to help pay for that got a cool reception from Republicans on the committee.  

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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