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Proposed bill would delay REAL ID deadline by a year amid COVID-19 pandemic

The current deadline is Oct. 1, 2020.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced a bi-partisan bill Friday that calls for an extension on the REAL ID deadline, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“Extending the rapidly approaching REAL ID deadline is a sensible solution that will help protect the health and safety of Michiganders, and give them peace of mind knowing they have more time to get their new IDs," said Peters in a news release.

Currently, on Oct. 1, 2020 the Transportation Security Administration will require all air travelers over the age of 18 to have a REAL ID in order to travel. The new legislation calls for a deadline of Oct. 1, 2021.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said on Friday that she hopes the federal government will move forward with this legislation. 

"About half of our residents have REAL ID right now, so we are far ahead of other states already," Benson said. "But, we want people to not have to worry about that, right now."

Michigan SOS offices are open with limited hours and by appointment only amid coronavirus. Benson said that the offices have been sanitized and taped off to demonstrate a 6-foot distance between staff and customers. Closing SOS office's altogether is not out of the question, Benson said, but she hopes to remain open to keep providing a critical service. 

RELATED: SOS, Meijer team up to offer plate renewal kiosks

"We have a responsibility to keep people driving whether it's truck drivers, so that they can deliver supplies, or delivery service vehicles so they can deliver food," Benson said.

Late fees have been waived and law enforcement has been instructed not to enforce any expired plates or licenses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Watch 13 ON YOUR SIDE's interview with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson here. 

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