Every year, the worst birthday present is given to those who own vehicles and driver's licenses. Every year you must renew your tags and registration on your license plate which allow you to continue to drive a legal vehicle. Along with purchasing new tags which is just a sticker and your registration which is just a piece of paper, you may also purchase a new license plate and/or a recreational parking pass.

Just last year we saw a navy blue plate with yellow lettering retro plate design that says "Water Winter Wonderland" brought back to life. This was added to the list of specialty license plates that are available. There are currently many different plates from the standard blue and the Mackinac bridge to ones that fundraise for universities or diseases. Now as 2023 comes to a close there are eight new license plate designs being discussed in the House and could be here sometime next year. 

Tons of drivers like to take the liberty of designing their own license plate numbers which would mean that they would most likely care about what the design of the plate looks like as well. Some of my favorite Michigan license plates are the ones that have the pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness and the vanity plates that have cool sayings. Many people like to showcase where they earned their degree from or which branch of the military they are/were in.

Lawmakers in both the Michigan Senate and the House have been working on bills that will bring up to 8 new license plate designs to Michigan. Some of them will be to fundraise for a disease and others will be retro designs being revitalized or military plates. Below is a list of the potential designs along with descriptions:

New Designs

  • House Bill 5058, which passed the House this month before lawmakers left for the year, would create a plate to raise funds for Michigan’s branch of 4-H, the national youth agriculture organization.
  • House Bill 4308, which passed the House in September, would create a plate to raise money for sickle cell anemia research and treatment. This rare but well-known blood disease disproportionately affects Black people.
  • House Bill 4723, which passed the House earlier this month, would make available special plates for current or former members or spouses of the U.S. Merchant Marine.
  • A former standard blue plate with white text in use from 1983 to 2007
  • A former standard black plate with white text in use from 1979 to 1983
  • Michigan’s 1976 red, white and blue bicentennial plate, which will be updated for America’s 250th anniversary in 2026
  • Senate Bill 62, yet to get a committee hearing since its introduction in February, would create a plate to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer prevention and screenings.
  • House Bill 4668 and Senate Bill 352 would create a new plate for next of kin to a person who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Army Reserve or Army National Guard but wasn’t on active duty.
  • Similarly to the next-of-kin bills, Senate Bill 640 would allow spouses of Purple Heart recipients and Pearl Harbor survivors to be issued license plates currently only available to those military members. Introduced on Nov. 2, this bill has not had a committee hearing.
  • Also related to military plates, House Bill 5127 would extend the eligibility for a disabled veteran plate to partially disabled veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses a percentage scale to grade disability, and Michigan would define “partially disabled” as 50% or more.

Other Important Details

The first time you purchase a fundraising plate it will cost $35, which consist of a $25 donation and a $10 service fee. During your tag and registration renewal there will be a mandatory $10 donation for fundraising plates. The State law sets the maximum number of fundraising plates at 20 and right now Michigan only has 16. Plates that fundraise for universities are not included in this count.

The retro designs will look to encompass the old while bringing in the new. New pressings of these plates will be available for an extra $55 per vehicle at Secretary of State branches. $50 goes toward fixing Michigan’s roads, and $5 goes to the Secretary of State office.

Lawmakers say that the blue and black plates have “MICHIGAN” at the top, while the blue plate has “GREAT LAKES” on the bottom and the black plate has “GREAT LAKE STATE” on the bottom. The bicentennial plate when issued in 1976 had “76″ on the bottom left corner of a background resembling an American flag. When reissued 2026, the “76″ may have “26.”

Plates for military veterans come at no extra cost. So, if your birthday is coming up, you're thinking about purchasing a new plate or you want to find a way to fundraise to a university or cause then a newly designed Michigan license plate might be perfect for you!

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