2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
June 24, 2021 - Introduced by Senators Marklein and Nass, cosponsored by
Representatives Novak, Dittrich, Knodl, Kuglitsch, Moses, Spiros,
Brandtjen and Murphy. Referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public
SB437,1,4 1An Act to repeal 341.04 (intro.); to renumber 341.04 (1) (b) and 341.04 (1) (c);
2to renumber and amend 341.04 (1) (a); to amend 341.04 (title), 341.04 (1)
3(intro.) and 341.18 (2); and to create 341.04 (2m) (d) of the statutes; relating
operation of unregistered vehicles.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, a vehicle subject to registration by the Department of
Transportation generally may not be operated upon a highway in this state unless
the vehicle is registered or an application for vehicle registration has been mailed or
delivered to DOT or delivered to a motor vehicle dealer and the vehicle displays a
temporary operation plate. Currently, this prohibition does not apply during a
declared state of emergency. This bill eliminates the state of emergency exception
and creates an exception for operation due to imminent public disaster or imminent
death or great bodily harm.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB437,1 5Section 1. 341.04 (title) of the statutes is amended to read:
1341.04 (title) Penalty for operating Operation of unregistered or
2improperly registered vehicle.
SB437,2 3Section 2. 341.04 (intro.) of the statutes is repealed.
SB437,3 4Section 3. 341.04 (1) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB437,2,95 341.04 (1) (intro.) It is unlawful for any No person to may operate or for an and
owner to may consent to being operated on any highway of this state any motor
7vehicle, recreational vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, or any other vehicle for which a
8registration fee is specifically prescribed, unless at the time of operation the vehicle
9in question either is registered
any of the following applies:
SB437,2,10 10(am) The vehicle is registered in this state , or, except.
SB437,2,16 11(bm) 1. Except for registration under s. 341.30 or 341.305, a complete
12application for registration of the vehicle, including evidence of any inspection under
13s. 110.20 when required, accompanied by the required fee has been delivered to the
14department, submitted to a dealer under s. 341.09 (2m) for transmittal to the
15department, or deposited in the mail properly addressed with postage prepaid and,
SB437,2,21 172. If subd. 1. applies and the vehicle is an automobile or motor truck having a
18registered weight of 8,000 pounds or less, the vehicle displays a temporary operation
19plate issued for the vehicle unless the operator or owner of the vehicle produces proof
20that operation of the vehicle is within 2 business days of the vehicle's sale or transfer,
21or the vehicle in question is exempt from registration.
SB437,4 22Section 4. 341.04 (1) (a) of the statutes is renumbered 341.04 (2m) (a) and
23amended to read:
SB437,3,424 341.04 (2m) (a) A Notwithstanding sub. (1), a vehicle may be operated by a
25private person after the date of purchase of such the vehicle by such private the

1person or after the date such the person moved to this state if application for
2registration, except for registration under s. 341.30 or 341.305, and certificate of title
3has been made and the person otherwise complies with any applicable requirements
4of this section.
SB437,5 5Section 5. 341.04 (1) (b) of the statutes is renumbered 341.04 (2m) (b).
SB437,6 6Section 6. 341.04 (1) (c) of the statutes is renumbered 341.04 (2m) (c).
SB437,7 7Section 7. 341.04 (2m) (d) of the statutes is created to read:
SB437,3,128 341.04 (2m) (d) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to the operation of a vehicle
9that is caused by pressure of natural physical forces causing the owner or operator
10reasonably to believe that operation of the vehicle is the only means of preventing
11imminent death or great bodily harm, as defined in s. 939.22 (14), to a person or
12imminent public disaster.
SB437,8 13Section 8. 341.18 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
SB437,3,2114 341.18 (2) If a person claims as a defense to a citation for failure to display
15evidence of registration that the person has made application for annual registration
16as provided in s. 341.04 (1) (intro.) (bm) 2. and no such application was submitted to
17the department and the person is convicted of operating the vehicle without
18registration, the person shall be required to pay the full annual fee upon registration
19of the vehicle, notwithstanding the eligibility of the vehicle for registration under s.
20341.30 or 341.305. The court or the department shall order the annual registration
21under s. 341.04 (3) (c).
SB437,3,2222 (End)