Report Title:

Motor Vehicles


Makes the front motor vehicle license plate optional.


S.B. NO.












SECTION 1. Section 249-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"249-7 Number plates. (a) Upon receipt of the tax, the director of finance shall number and register the vehicle in the owner's name, in a permanent record or book to be kept by the director for this purpose, and shall furnish the owner thereof with a receipt showing upon its face the license number issued for the vehicle and the fact that the license tax has been paid thereon for the whole or the remainder of the current year in which the receipt is issued. The director of finance shall also furnish the owner, upon the original registration of the vehicle, [two number plates for the vehicle or] one plate in the case of vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or motorcycles with the registration number marked thereon. Upon the payment of the tax for each year a tag or emblem bearing a serial number and the month and year of expiration shall be provided to the owner. Transfer of current number plates, tag, or emblem, except as authorized by this chapter or by chapter 286, is punishable by a fine of not more than $50 for each offense.

(b) Upon an original registration, the director of finance shall fix, and shall charge to the owner, a fee equal to the cost of the number plate and tag or emblem plus the administrative cost of furnishing the plate and tag or emblem and effecting the registration. Upon the issuance of a new series of number plates as determined by the directors of finance of each county through majority consent, the director of finance shall charge the owner a fee equal to the costs of the number plate plus the administrative cost of furnishing the plates. Upon issuing a tag or emblem, the director of finance shall charge the owner a fee of 50 cents. The owner shall securely fasten the number [plates on the vehicle, one on the front and the other] plate on the rear[,] of the vehicle, at a location provided by the manufacturer or, in the absence of such a location, upon the [bumpers] bumper of the vehicle and in conformance with section 291-31, in such a manner as to prevent the [plates] plate from swinging and at a minimum of twelve inches from the ground. [Number plates] A number plate shall at all times be displayed entirely unobscured and be kept reasonably clean. In the case of trailers, semitrailers, or motorcycles, one plate shall be used and it shall be fastened to the rear thereof at a location provided by the manufacturer or in the absence of such a location at the rear thereof, and in the case of motorcycles in conformance with section 291-31.

(c) Upon the issuance of the tag or emblem, the owner shall affix the tag or emblem to the top right portion of the rear number plate, except that all vehicles owned by the State, any county government, any board of water supply, and official representatives of any foreign governments shall be issued registrations which need be renewed only in the new plate issue year.

(d) After the initial payment of the tax and the original registration of a vehicle as herein specified, a motor vehicle shall not be required to be reweighed in any succeeding year, unless it has been so altered or changed as to increase or diminish its weight. No new number [plates] plate shall, however, be issued to a new owner except as provided in sections 249-7.5 and 249-8.

(e) If an owner of a vehicle registered in any county, upon the disposition of the vehicle, requests that the license [plates] plate furnished to the owner with respect to the registration of the vehicle be assigned to another vehicle subsequently acquired by the owner, the assignment may be made by the director of finance at the director's discretion. To defray additional administrative costs incurred by acceding to those requests, the director of finance shall charge a fee of $5 for each reassignment of license [plates,] plate in addition to the fee for registration. The procedure for registering the vehicles shall otherwise be identical with that provided by this section.

(f) At the option of the owner of a vehicle, the director of finance shall furnish, for an additional fee equal to its costs, a second number plate to be fastened on the front of the motor vehicle."

SECTION 2. Section 249-7.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"249-7.5 New motor vehicle with a temporary number plate. Any person who has purchased a new motor vehicle [which] that has attached a temporary number plate under section 286-53 shall register the new motor vehicle in accordance with this chapter within thirty days after taking possession of the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this chapter, the registration of such a motor vehicle shall be considered an original registration under section 249-7. Within thirty days of the original registration of such a motor vehicle, the director of finance shall furnish [two] the number [plates] plate and the valid tag or emblem appropriate for the year of registration, if any, which shall be attached to the motor vehicle as provided under section 249-7. Upon attachment of the number [plates,] plate, the temporary number plate provided under section 286-53 shall be destroyed."

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2004.