Whitmer Signs Bill Allowing 2-Year Driver Registration

If you’re registering a car in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just saved you a trip to the Secretary of State’s office.

And if you’ve got a fleet of agricultural and industrial services, you may get to do it for free.

Whitmer on Wednesday signed legislation (House Bill 4117) allowing drivers to choose a two-year vehicle registration, improving the convenience of Secretary of State services. 

The governor also signed Senate Bill 220, allowing for no-cost registration renewal for certain agricultural and industrial vehicles, House Bill 4281, ensuring continued funding for police and fire services in Romulus and Harper Woods, and House Bill 4059, which streamlines children’s mental health treatment plans.  

“Making life easier for Michiganders is one of my top priorities,” Whitmer said. “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. These changes will build on the many new convenient services offered by the Secretary of State to put Michigan families and small businesses first.”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called it a “new era of operations” and said the department is “providing better and more convenient services” than ever.

“Our branch offices are open, pandemic operations are finished, and there is abundant availability for office visits across the state,” Benson said. “HB 4117 will add yet another convenient service to our catalog and, while not implementable as written, SB 220 will be beneficial once the Legislature requires insurance companies to provide the Department with electronic access to their policies for agricultural vehicles.” 

House Bill 4117 allows drivers the option to request a two-year registration instead of renewing annually. Currently, a vehicle registration is issued annually and expires on the owner’s birthday. 

House Bill 4117 was sponsored by Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Wayland Twp. and a copy can be found here.  

Senate Bill 220 will specifically amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to require the secretary of state to provide a system under which special vehicle registrations related to certain agricultural or wood harvesting operations could be renewed at no additional charge in a branch office, by first-class mail, and online beginning October 1, 2022.  

Senate Bill 220 was sponsored by Sen. Lana Thesis, R-Brighton, and a copy can be found here

House Bill 4281 will ensure that smaller cities with fewer than 15,500 residents can continue receiving critical funding for their emergency services operations to keep people safe. The bill addresses the funding of police and fire protection services by townships, villages, and certain qualified cities, to expand the population threshold to qualified cities with fewer than 15,500 residents and to include the city of Romulus, the location of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. This bill allows the cities of Harper Woods and Romulus to better support their police and fire departments, protecting public safety. 

House Bill 4281 was sponsored by Rep. Alex Garza, D-Taylor, and a copy can be found here

“This bill, in its simplest form, addresses issues of public safety unique to different cities across Michigan,” said Rep. Alex Garza, D-Taylor. “With public safety issues that presented themselves in Romulus, a city that I represent, it also became clear that additional police and fire services were necessary in a city that harbors a large international airport. These services are a lifeline to so many, and I am proud to have been able to work closely with Senator Hollier and my colleagues in the House of Representatives to accomplish this win for public safety.” 

“The Michigan Municipal League was pleased to work with local officials, state legislators, and the administration to help HB 4281 become a reality,” said Chris Hackbarth, director of state and federal affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. “This bill will help ensure continued financial support for police and fire protection in communities that rely on this funding and recognizes the limitations that many communities face in funding their essential services.” 

House Bill 4059 will add a section to the division of the Social Welfare Act that would provide that a child with a confirmed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) would not be required to have a re-evaluation to determine continued eligibility for behavioral health treatment. Under this new law, a re-evaluation would only be required if it was medically necessary. 

House Bill 4059 was sponsored by Rep. Pauline Wendzel, R-Watervliet and a copy can be found here.  

“There’s so much good we can do for the people we serve when we focus on real issues, and this bill is a perfect example of it,” said Rep. Pauline Wendzel, R-Watervliet. “I want to thank my colleagues for their overwhelming support and Director Wier from the LOGAN Center in Benton Harbor for her tireless advocacy. This bill will prevent children from losing access to vital services, save caregivers countless hours, and help more of our kids gain access to these life-changing services. I’m proud we came together and delivered for the children of our state.”