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6/16/2021 House approves extension of time to transfer car registrations
Sponsored by Rep. McGaw, bill addresses long waits for DMV appointments
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Michelle E. McGaw to give car buyers more time to transfer their registrations.

The bill (2021-H 6274), which now heads to the Senate, 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.

Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles instituted 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 DMV announced last week that the appointment system will be a permanent change, and that a new, more user-friendly reservation system will be released in July.

“While the appointment system is a convenience that has helped people avoid standing in line for hours at the DMV, appointments are booking a month or more out, so it’s actually impossible to comply with the current law. I’m optimistic that the DMV’s new appointment system will help alleviate the wait, but extending the deadline so it isn’t so tight would also help make the process of registering a car less stressful for Rhode Islanders,” said Representative McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton).

The legislation 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).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923