The Democratic governor's decision Monday comes over the objection of social justice activists who say it will lead to more fines and create economic hardships for poor people.
The bill aims to prevent toll-road cheats and ensure law enforcement officers can identify vehicles on the road.
Dealerships are required to post a notice of sale on the front windshield while the driver waits for the plate, but many abuse it - never registering, and skipping out on tolls, tickets and even crimes.
AB516 by Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin of South San Francisco will require car dealers to put a temporary license plate on a vehicle when they sell it, beginning in 2019.
"I think it's a long time coming. I'm not really shocked, because if you think about it, there's really nothing ID'ing the vehicle," dealership owner Billy Singerman said.
The bill's sponsor says he is open to creating a registry that would allow car buyers who are having problems registering their cars to avoid being ticketed under the new law. Critics say that provision "should" have been included in the original bill.
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