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Bills Would Improve Veterans License Plates Access


[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The RI State House. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed two bills improving veteran access to veterans license plates.
Editor’s note: The following information was provided by the RI Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau. It has been lightly edited.

STATE HOUSE — Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) making veterans license plates more accessible to veterans.

The first bill (2023-H 5954A), sponsored by Representative Vella-Wilkinson, would permit disabled veterans to be issued more than one set of disabled veteran license plates, and would permit the plates to be transferred to the veteran’s spouse or caretaker under certain conditions.

“This is a common-sense bill,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson, a retired naval officer. “Most people have more than one vehicle, and it doesn’t make sense that they would be limited to only one veteran plate. This is equity legislation that will benefit disabled veterans and their caretakers.”

‘Under current law, different veteran plates have different weight limits, and it’s absurd that a handicap-accessible van would be considered too big for a ‘disabled veteran’ plate.’

The second bill (2023-H 5265), introduced by Representative Azzinaro, would increase the weight limit of those vehicles that are registerable with prisoner of war plates, Purple Heart plates, Distinguished Service Cross plates, Bronze Star Medal plates, National Guard plates or disabled veterans plates to 12,000 pounds, and would apply to any vehicle registerable as an automobile or commercial vehicle.

“This clarifies and makes consistent the weight limits for vehicles that have veteran plates,” said Representative Azzinaro, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “Under current law, different veteran plates have different weight limits, and it’s absurd that a handicap-accessible van would be considered too big for a ‘disabled veteran’ plate. This will make everything uniform.”

The bills are the latest pro-veteran legislation to pass the House of Representatives. Last year, the General Assembly enacted laws to eliminate state income taxes on military pensions, make it a crime to fraudulently represent oneself as a veteran for the purpose of obtaining money, create a special motor vehicle registration plate for recipients of the Bronze Star, and entitle military voters to utilize electronically transmitted ballots.

The measures now move to the Senate, where Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) has introduced legislation similar to the Vella-Wilkinson bill (2023-S 0946) and the Azzinaro bill (2023-S 0436).

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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