By Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents and others should see improvements when it comes to taking care of business at Secretary of State branch offices thanks to legislation that was approved with bi-partisan support.

The state Senate enacted legislation Wednesday with amended language that codifies the Secretary of State’s current service-driven operations in branch offices throughout the state, which includes waiving late fees and supporting walk-up services. Under the model, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says they ensure those visiting offices are in and out in an average of just 20 minutes.

Residents are able to schedule their visits ahead of time or walk up to an office and be seen right away if there is an immediate opening, or schedule a time to be seen later in the day or the following day. Branch offices will be offering additional hours, opening earlier and closing later to help address a massive backlog of transactions.

From July 19th to September 30th, all offices will stay open until 6pm on Mondays and Thursdays and open at 8am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Most driver’s licenses and state IDs with an expiration date on or after July 1st can now be renewed without an office visit. In person visits for new photos are now required every 12 years instead of every 8.

Benson commented that she was glad that the amended legislation that was adopted reflects their recommendations and incorporated language to waive late fees and extend expirations on a rolling basis so that they do not all come due on the same day. In the coming months, she says there are plans to continue to increase capacity to provide more options for residents and motorists.