June 13, 2021

Rep. McGaw introduces legislation that would extend the amount of time to transfer car registrations

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State House — Rep. Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton) has introduced legislation that would give new car owners more time to transfer their registrations.

The bill (2021-H 6274) would extend the period of time that a newly purchased motor vehicle may be temporarily operated from 20 to 30 days, using the purchaser’s current license plates. The extension would also apply to out-of-state vehicle purchases and the temporary transfer of registrations. Cars bought in the private market, which are currently given only two business days to transfer the plate, would have 30 days for the transfer under the legislation.

“I’ve spoken to several people who had to replace a vehicle for one reason or another, but were unable to make an appointment to have the vehicle registered in a timely manner,” said Representative McGaw. “Right now, vehicle owners have to wait a month or more for appointment availability. This legislation would give people more time to schedule an appointment with the DMV.”

Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles announced a reservation-only schedule in order to maintain social distancing at its facilities. Sometimes appointments have been unavailable for four weeks in advance, making it impossible to transfer a registration in the amount of time allotted under the current law.

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown), Brandon C. Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston), Jacquelyn M. Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston), Nathan W. Biah (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Edward T. Cardillo Jr. (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston), Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-Dist. 15, Cranston), Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist. 62, Pawtucket) and Minority Whip Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry), has been referred to the House Committee on State Government and Elections.

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