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Michigan vehicle owners would have to opt out of park passes under House bill

People could only opt out of the $10 park pass within a 30-day window

Vehicle registration fees in Michigan would go up to $10 under legislation currently in the House, with the money transferred to the Department of Natural Resources. Vehicle owners would be automatically signed up for a pass to Michigan’s state parks and boat launches. People who weren’t interested would have to opt out, and only within a short time frame.

Rep. Julie Brixie, D-Meridian Township, introduced House Bill 5428, Feb. 7. It would undo the current process, wherein vehicle owners can, but do not have to, buy a state park pass when they register or renew a vehicle. Brixie’s bill would turn an opt-in system into an opt-out one.

Anyone who wants to decline the $10 fee must submit a request in writing to the DNR, and must do so within 30 days of obtaining or renewing the vehicle registration. The bill does not provide an address for vehicle owners to use to opt out, and does not require the DNR to create or publicize an address.

There were 9.4 million vehicles registered in the state as of 2022, per MichiganTrafficCrashFacts.com. In the 2020-21 fiscal year, the DNR had $36.7 million in revenue from the state recreation passport program, according to the House Fiscal Agency.

Brixie did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.