Michigan bill would end license plate tab requirement, registration certificates

September 14, 2020

Keith Goble


If one Michigan state lawmaker gets his way, the state would do away with the requirement for license plate stickers.

Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, says vehicle plate tabs are no longer necessary because law enforcement has access to computerized records that show whether license plates are expired.

Additionally, he says the change would save the state money and reduce wait times at Secretary of State branches.

Maddock told members of the House Transportation Committee last week that about 60% of visitors to Secretary of State branches are there to pick up license plate stickers.

“We’ve all had the calls in our offices – going back before COVID – that we had some real issues with long lines at Secretary of State offices,” Maddock testified. “My office received probably a couple of hundred calls over a two- or three-month period.”

To address the complaints of constituents, his bill would eliminate the requirement for drivers to get annual license plate tabs.

“We have a problem. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you are on, this is an issue we have to face in Michigan now,” he said.

Saving time and money

Maddock added that passage of the bill, HB5250, could cut lines in half.

A fiscal note attached to the bill shows the Michigan Department of State estimates the bill could result in expenditures decreasing by about $500,000.

The Michigan State Police opposes the bill. The agency says the bill could make it more difficult to determine whether driver registrations are current.

Registration certificates

The bill would also do away with a requirement for drivers to have in their vehicle a paper or electronic copy of their registration certificate. Instead, law enforcement officers would be required to access the necessary information on the Law Enforcement Information Network.

Critics say the requirement for officers to find driver’s proof of registration could be problematic if technology or connectivity is an issue while out on the road.

Maddock said he thinks the bill’s benefits greatly outweigh the concerns.

“We have to look as a legislative body at an opportunity to solve a lot of problems for people.”

The committee did not vote on the bill.

More Land Line coverage of news from Michigan is available.


Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.