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Bill Would Allow Banks To Offer Secretary Of State Services

Stories of long wait times prompt effort to have banks renew licenses and car registrations

Media and anecdotal reports of long waits at Secretary of State offices across Michigan have prompted a Republican state representative to introduce a bill that would allow banks to offer some of the agency’s services.

State Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, introduced House Bill 5171 on Oct. 29, which would let banks renew vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses.

“I'm excited to tell you that I submitted a bill to reduce wait times at the Secretary of State,” Maddock said in a Facebook post. “The bill would permit banks [to] provide the same services. There are 131 SOS offices, and over 3000 banks. The bill became HB 5171, with 21 cosponsors, and if passed it could save $150-200+ million in the Michigan economy from lost work and wait times.”

Under the bill, banks could charge a fee for offering these services. Banks would have to turn over to the state the amount that the Secretary of State would have collected for the same services, which would be credited to the state’s transportation fund.

“They could charge an additional fee but I believe the smart banks and credit unions just might offer these services for free to get new customers in the door!” Maddock said in a Facebook post. “Like grocery stores giving away eggs or milk at a reduced cost. I’d gladly pay an additional 20 bucks to NOT wait in line three hours.”

Maddock also announced on Facebook that he is working on bills that would eliminate license plate tabs and give residents a choice to renew a license plate for up to three years.

When running for office, current Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson promised a 30-minute guarantee for getting these and other services at a Secretary of State office.

“No one should have to spend hours in line at a Secretary of State branch office or waiting to vote. That’s why I will introduce the 30-Minute Guarantee. You should be able to get in and out of your branch office in a half-hour or less and get on with your day," she said.

“Secretary Benson and her administration are doing the work to address systemic issues that have caused long wait times at branch offices for years,” said SOS spokesman Jake Rollow in an email. “There is no quick fix that will solve these issues, but she is open to fresh ideas and partnerships.”