SOS Express News from Secretary of State Ruth Johnson

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NAIAS 2018

SOS booth at Auto Show

Secretary Johnson to Detroit auto show visitors: Are you ready for REAL ID?

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has announced that attendees of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit can stop by her office’s display on the Cobo Center concourse to learn more about upcoming REAL ID requirements during the public show.

“As they check out the latest designs and auto technology, auto show visitors should stop by our display to find out how the upcoming federal REAL ID will affect air travelers and how to get a REAL ID-compliant license before the rules go into effect,” Johnson said. “Now is the perfect time to ask any questions you may have about how you’ll be affected.”

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will not allow Michigan residents carrying a driver’s license or ID card that does not comply with the federal REAL ID Act to board domestic flights, or enter certain federal facilities unless they have another accepted ID document. Beginning Jan. 22, REAL ID flight rules go into effect nationwide; however, because Michigan has a compliance extension, all residents who have a driver’s licenses and ID cards will be accepted through Oct. 1, 2020.

To obtain a compliant card, residents will need to bring a certified birth certificate or another approved document to any Secretary of State office. People whose name has changed since birth will need to bring a name-change legal document(s), such as marriage license or court order, or show a valid U.S. passport showing the person’s current name.

The world-class North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit features the Charity Preview, the largest single-night charity event in North America, on Jan. 19. The public show begins Saturday, Jan. 20 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 28.

The full-service Secretary of State Mobile Office will be at the auto show to register people to vote, join the organ donor registry, renew licenses and plates, and much more. The Mobile Office will be on the concourse near the Hall B entrance and office hours will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays. On Sunday, Jan. 28, the office will close at 7 p.m.

The federal REAL ID standards for driver’s licenses and ID cards were created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks based on recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. The Act sets document and security standards for the production and issuance of driver’s licenses and ID cards, including the use of features to prevent illegal copying or altering.

SOS encourages action on driver fees

Secretary Johnson made the following statement about Driver Responsibility Fees as lawmakers returned from winter break earlier this month:

SOs Ruth Johnson seated

“Michigan residents have waited long enough for relief from these burdensome fees that are hurting families and job growth across the state,” Johnson said. “I encourage House and Senate members to work together with the governor to reach a deal right away to forgive the fees. Driver Responsibility Fees are not enforcing traffic safety. Because of this automatic double-penalty, too many Michigan residents have lost their licenses because of Driver Responsibility Fees. They can’t take their kids to school or get to work, disrupting their families and harming local businesses who can’t find enough qualified employees.”

As a state representative in 2003, Johnson voted against Driver Responsibility Fees. As secretary of state, she has pushed for repealing the Driver Responsibility Fee law, successfully advocating that lawmakers eliminate the most common fees in 2011, create a community service option for certain fees in 2015 and begin phasing out all fees.

Driver Responsibility Fees are an additional fee automatically charged for various traffic violations, including non-moving violations, on top of regular traffic citation fines and court costs. Unlike traditional court fines and fees in which a judge can take into consideration a driver’s ability to pay and order alternatives, such as payment plans or community service in lieu of payment, the automatically assessed Driver Responsibility Fees cannot be waived or reduced by a judge.

Olympic license plate

Support Team USA with an Olympic plate

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games begin on Feb. 9 in South Korea and you can show your support for Team USA with an Olympic license plate.

For every plate sold, $25 of the $35 purchase price, and all $10 for renewals, goes to the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University. 

Order yours today!

James Fackler in front of license plate display

A day in the life at the MI Dept. of State

Monica Drake, a communications representative for the Michigan Office of Performance and Transformation recently followed James Fackler, an assistant administrator in the Customer Service Administration of the Department of State, for a day to learn more about what the department's team does.

Read her story

(Photo by Monica Drake)

SOS meets w/ Oakland U officials

SOS welcomes OU

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson was pleased to visit with Oakland University President Dr. Ora Pescovitz and the OU government/state relations team in Lansing on Jan. 10. 

Pictured (l to r) are: Bonnie Bochniak, OU State Relations Director; Rochelle Black, OU VP for Government and Community Relations, Secretary Johnson and President Pescovitz

Tons of food donated for Harvest Gathering

Secretary Johnson announced recently that Secretary of State offices collected more than 10,000 pounds of food and nearly $2,000 during the 2017 Harvest Gathering food drive.

“We’re so pleased to be able to help our community,” Johnson said. “Our customers and staff were generous and thoughtful in donating to this cause and making sure everyone in their area has a happy holiday season.”

Many offices also received health care items for donation. Collected items were distributed to local food banks.