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Gov. Whitmer signs two-year vehicle registration bill into law

driving in a car
WKAR file photo

A bill signed into state law Wednesday is giving Michigan drivers more options when it comes to vehicle registration.

The new law allows drivers to choose whether to renew their registration annually or request a new two-year registration.

Sponsor state Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland Twp) says the law has been five years in the making.

“A lot of times government is hesitant to try anything different. People are hesitant to change but over five years we finally were able to make the case to people and they realized this is just another option. There’s really no reason why we shouldn’t give it a try,” Johnson said.

The new two-year registration would cost more than the annual renewal to make up for the missing second year of revenue.

Johnson said the state would get the same fee collection revenue—just a year earlier.

“So we have to make sure that we’re cognizant of that, we don’t spend it like drunken sailors and realize, ‘Hey we have to make sure we’re wise with this because there will be a decrease in the second year.” But the total amount of money is still the same,” Johnson said.

However, analysis from the Senate Fiscal Agency reflects the potential for lost revenue from the state not collecting an $8 service for renewal transactions as often for those who choose the two-year option.

Bobby Leddy is a spokesperson for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He said the state is positioned to make investments.

“Our number one goal is to help save Michiganders time and money. The state has a $3.5 billion surplus because we were able to get our economy moving quicker than most states coming out of the pandemic,” Leddy said.

The law takes effect next October.

Meanwhile, another bill signed into law this week waives renewal fees for certain agricultural vehicles.

But Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called the law “not implementable as written,” in a joint press release with Gov. Whitmer.

She said the Legislature needs to require insurance companies to “provide the Department with electronic access to their policies for agricultural vehicles,” first.

Johnson said he and that law’s sponsor, state Sen. Lana Theis (R- Brighton) disagree with that stance.

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