Whitmer signs bill allowing Michigan drivers two-year vehicle registrations

LANSING, MI — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed into law a bill that grants Michigan drivers the opportunity to renew their license plates every two years

House Bill 4117, sponsored by Rep. Steven Johnson, R–Wayland Township, aims to save motorists trips to Secretary of State branches or their local SOS kiosks by giving drivers the option of selecting two-year vehicle registrations.

Currently, a vehicle registration is issued annually and typically expires on the owner’s birthday.

The governor said in a statement Wednesday that the new law will make things more convenient for Michiganders.

“The changes that I signed into law today will give Michigan car owners the opportunity to renew their license every two years instead of annually and will provide options for Michigan businesses to renew their special vehicle registration,” she said. “These changes will build on the many new convenient services offered by the Secretary of State to put Michigan families and small businesses first.”

Read more: SOS will open earlier, stay open later in continued effort to minimize backlog

A House Fiscal Agency analysis estimates the bill could result in a significant decline in registration service fee revenue that feeds into two state restricted funds. The actual amount of the decrease would depend on the number of vehicle owners who opt for a two-year registration.

There’s an $8 service fee with each initial vehicle registration or renewal transaction. Revenue from the $8 service fee is credited as follows:

  • $5.75 to the Transportation Administration Collection Fund, a state restricted fund used to support the vehicle registration program of the Department of State.
  • $2.25 to the Traffic Law Enforcement and Safety Fund, a state restricted fund appropriated to support the Michigan State Police traffic and safety operations and to support MSP trooper recruit schools.

The fiscal analysis notes that the bill would prorate the registration tax for the extended registration period. It would not increase service fees to cover the loss of the second-year registration service fee revenue resulting from the reduced number of transactions.

In 2017-18, revenue from the $8 vehicle registration service fee totaled $62.6 million, with $45 million credited to the Transportation Administration Collection Fund and $17.6 million credited to the Traffic Law Enforcement and Safety Fund.


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