Pandemic puts Illinois’ 2-year vehicle registration law in limbo

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(The Center Square) – Illinoisans will have to wait until the pandemic subsides to take advantage of the new law allowing for two-year vehicle registration.

Enacted in 2018, Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie’s legislation enables two-year passenger vehicle registration, instead of needing to register every year. The law ordered the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to begin the new registrations on Jan. 1, but McConchie was notified Thursday that they would not be able to make that happen. 

“Their response was that, because of COVID, they don’t have the necessary computer upgrades yet in order to implement the changes and that will require new programming and significant transition planning,” he said. “Things that won’t happen for a while until we get well beyond the current pandemic situation that is currently affecting the state.”

Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker confirmed the delay on Thursday.

“We support the plan to have multi-year plates, but due to budget constraints related to the pandemic, we are not able to begin the program immediately,” he said. “The pandemic limits our ability to implement new programs and using limited resources.”

Since the law was enacted years before the pandemic, McConchie said the office has had ample time to implement a change that was centralized and already exists for other licenses. 

“During the legislative process, we provided the Secretary of State everything that they asked for in regard to when the implementation would happen,” he said. “They had more than a year prior to COVID to try and get this system going. Best that I can tell, I don’t think that they’ve done much, if any, work.”

The change would have also meant paying the newly-more expensive registration two years at a time. For a passenger vehicle or Class B truck, a registrant would pay $302 for a two-year sticker, rather than $151 annually. That’s more expensive than all but a handful of states.

McConchie said it was his father who inspired him to take up the change after expressing frustration with the process of renewing his annual registration. 

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