Currently offering the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles provides special license plates honoring qualified 'Veterans' on license plates. The intention of this project is to extend that designation to include Rhode Island motor vehicle operator's licenses and identification cards.
It is my intention to submit legislation in the House of Representatives through which any veteran, who so desires, shall be provided with a Rhode Island license which contains a designation of their status as a veteran.
The following bill was submitted in the Massachusetts legislator Massachusetts House Bill H3709
An Act designating veterans status on driver's licenses and identification cards
By Mr. Koczera of New Bedford and Senator Rodrigues, a joint petition (subject to Joint Rule 12) (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3709) of Robert M. Koczera and others relative to the designation of veterans status on licenses and identification cards issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles . Transportation.
Sponsors: Robert M. Koczera & Michael J. Rodrigues
Status: Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means
Here is the essence of the Massachusetts bill.
SECTION 1. The ninth paragraph of section 8 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The registrar shall affix a capital "V" to the license of a veteran who, upon the veteran's request, presents a DD form 214 issued to that person by the United States Department of Defense.
Here is what Utah did:
This article about what Utah did 'sets the mark' for what we need to do in Rhode Island. Check this link: "New driver's license honoring vets could diffuse tense situations". Be sure to click on the video when you get to the page.
Current Rhode Island Law:
The laws pertaining to Operator's and Chauffeurs Licenses are found in Section 31-10-26 of TITLE 31 "Motor and Other vehicles" of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island.
" (i) Any personal digitized information contained within an operator's or chauffeur's license shall be limited to: (a) the licensee's name, age, date of birth, address, gender, physical description such as weight, height, hair color and eye color, signature and organ donor status; and (b) the license number, commercial endorsements, expiration date, issue date, restriction and class.
The wording of the first bill which will be submitted to the Rhode Island House of Representatives would be:
" (i) Any personal digitized information contained within an operator's or chauffeur's license shall be limited to: (a) the licensee's name, age, date of birth, address, gender, physical description such as weight, height, hair color and eye color, signature, designation of veterans status, and organ donor status; and (b) the license number, commercial endorsements, expiration date, issue date, restriction and class.
Rhode Island Laws pertaining to Identification cards are found in: TITLE 3 - Alcoholic Beverages - CHAPTER 3-8 - "Regulation of Sales" -
The wording of a second bill which will be submitted for Identification Cards would include the following:
" (c) The administrator of the division of motor vehicles shall, upon presentation of acceptable documentation of military service, issue an identification card to the presenter which is clearly marked 'veteran', at no additional cost."
SECTION 2. Chapter 31-10 of the General Laws entitled "Operators' and Chauffeurs' Licenses" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
"31-10-48. Veteran designation on operator license. - The administrator of the division of motor vehicles shall, upon presentation of acceptable documentation of military service, issue a motor vehicle operator license to the presenter which is clearly marked 'veteran', at no additional cost.
To see the proposed changes to the current law for Identification Cards and the addition to the section on Operator and Chauffeur's licenses click here.
Fees: I have suggested that the fee for updating the license of a Veteran with a 'Veterans Designation' be that same as currently used by the DMV for License Updates. This process is used for 'Lost & Damaged licenses'. The process is currently documented on the Southern New England AAA website.
- Cost: $6.50 See RI-DMV Registry fee listing
- Description: Update of existing Rhode Island License.
- Process: Members must provide their current license or provide one item from each of the following lists: "Identity Documents"/"Signature Documents" which must be presented prior to issuing an updated license. List of acceptable documents: www.dmv.ri.gov/documents/forms/checklist/license_checklist.
- Name Changes: All name changes must be accompanied by an original court document that clearly shows the former name and the new name. Name must be changed with Social Security Department 24 hours prior to visiting the branch. If the original court document is not available the name cannot be changed.
- Address Changes: A change of address may be completed as part of the update process.
- Physical Description Changes: Changes to physical appearance can be made as part of the ID renewal process, except Gender Changes. All Gender Changes must be substantiated and completed at the DMV-Registry.
- Processing Time: A temporary Rhode Island license is printed and given after a review of paperwork and payment. The physical license is mailed to the resident’s street address (no PO Boxes) within 30 days after processing.
- For further information contact your local AAA Branch Office, or RI DMV-Registry website.
Click here for a list of states that provide Veterans Designations on Drivers Licenses:
The benefits of providing this designation include:
- the 'Veteran' designation will give tribute to those who have given their service to our country.
- it should serve as a source of pride for honorably discharged veterans.
- it will increase awareness among others of those who have served and provide opportunities for expression of gratitude.
- it will provide valuable information to first responders in the case of a medical emergency.
- it will make it easier for veterans to take advantage of special discounts and incentives offered to them by the private industry.
- it will help the Department of Veterans’ Services provide veterans with benefits they are eligible to receive.
The following policies will be suggested in the proposed Rhode Island legislation:
- the designation will be based on the presentation of a Certificate of Release from Active Duty (DD-214).
it will be limited to honorably discharged veterans
there would be no additional cost for the "Veteran" designation, as long as it is added during an individual’s license renewal process.
- the current fees for a duplicate license would apply if a veteran wanted to obtain this feature at any other time.
Here is a link to an informative page about the DD-214 process:
Here is a news release about the success of this program in Massachusetts:
Massachusetts to offer Veteran designation on driver's licenses and ID cards.
Please send any comments to Rep. Peter Martin at the following email address: