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Senate approves registration discounts for handicap-accessible vehicles

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate recently approved legislation that would eliminate a requirement that allows only vans that are modified with a wheelchair lift to receive discounted vehicle registration.

“Under current law, a passenger vehicle can be completely handicap-accessible and not receive discounted registration because it isn’t a van,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “I don’t think that’s very reasonable. The changes that need to be made to these vehicles are sometimes quite extravagant and extremely costly. Offering discounted registration, regardless of the type of vehicle, is a sensible way to help offset some of those costs.”

The Michigan Vehicle Code currently allows a van owned by an individual who uses a wheelchair, or an individual responsible for transporting a member of their household who uses a wheelchair, to receive a 50 percent discount on their registration. The tax is calculated based on the weight and type of vehicle and is levied by the secretary of state when the vehicle is registered.

As vehicle engineering and technology continue to advance, more vehicles are capable of being modified to include wheelchair lifts or hand controls to allow someone who is disabled improved mobility. Senate Bill 815, which Horn sponsored, would allow vehicles that have been modified with a permanently installed wheelchair lift or hand controls designed to replace the brake and gas pedals of the vehicle to qualify for the discounted registration.

“This issue was brought to me by a constituent at one of my monthly office hours,” Horn said. “Once I realized how outdated this law was, it was an easy, commonsense bill to sponsor.”

The bill has been read into the Michigan House of Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.