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Secretary of State Highlights DeGroat Autism Policy

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson highlighted a new policy during a July 19 news conference in Mason.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson highlighted a new policy during a July 19 news conference in Mason that helps law enforcement officers become aware of drivers with communications impediments during traffic stops. The new policy was spearheaded by Xavier DeGroat, founder of the Lansing-based Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation, and received bipartisan support in the Legislature last year.

The policy allows people on the autism spectrum to register with secretary of state offices to how they would like to be approached during traffic stops. Police would be able to type in the license plate number, driver’s license number or state ID to see the information on in-vehicle computers. The goal is to help law enforcement better assist an individual on the spectrum when he or she is pulled over or in need of assistance.

Benson also used the news conference to address the new system that was put in place after the pandemic began allowing people to line up online instead of inside secretary of state branches.

“I’ve heard from many families that they love this new system,” said Benson. “They are able to pick up their kids from school or run errands instead of sitting in a line in one of our offices. Instead of a visit taking an hour, visit times have dropped to between 10 to 20 minutes.”

In closing, Benson said she will continue working to make sure secretary of state offices run as smoothly as possible, even while they catch up with the backlog of registrations that some offices need to work through.

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