23 June 2011, SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Solorio’s AB 610 to reform the Specialty License Plate program in California passed the Assembly on May 31 with 65 aye votes. This bill would make it easier to qualify license plate programs, such as the proposed Sierra Nevada Conservancy License Plate, that could provide important income to state agencies. The Sierra Fund was joined by Trust for Public Land and a number of animal welfare advocates including the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association in supporting the bill. AB 610 now heads to the Senate Transportation Committee where it will be heard on Tuesday, July 5.
Take action to support this legislation! Contact information and a sample letter follow this article.
California’s current special interest license plate program allows California state agencies to request the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue license plates with special designs or messages. The plates are sold to the public at higher prices than ordinary license plates, bringing additional revenue to the DMV, while providing a funding source and generating exposure for the state agency sponsoring the plate. Under current regulations, the DMV can only issue special-interest license plates after the collection of 7,500 individual paid license plate pre-orders is complete – a feat that no organization has accomplished since it was set years ago. This obstacle severely inhibits the specialty license-plate program thereby depriving the state of much needed revenue.
AB 610 would reduce specialty license plate pre-orders to 2,500 and would allow sponsoring State agencies to receive donations to expedite establishing their program. This bill was amended in the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 4 to remove the “full plate graphic” originally proposed in the bill. The bill was also amended to clarify that the program would be “revenue neutral” in that the state agency would be required to pay DMV for any costs incurred in establishing the program.
The Sierra Fund supports this effort to bring reform to the Specialty License Plate program of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Letters of support for the bill (sample letter follows) may be sent to your Senator (find your member’s contact information at LegInfo.com) and/or faxed to the Senate Transportation Committee: (916) 445-2209.
For more information, contact Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, CEO: (530) 265-8454×11.
Sample letter in support of AB 610
Senator Mark DeSaulnier
Senate Transportation Committee
via fax transmission
Dear Senator DeSaulnier,
I [or my organization] am writing to urge your support for AB 610 (Solorio) to reform the Specialty License Plate program of the Department of Motor Vehicles. This reform bill make viable this program, which provides California motor vehicle owners the opportunity to purchase specialty plates that provide urgently needed income to government agencies.
Since 2006, when changes made to California Vehicle Code law set a threshold of 7,500 for pre-orders, no new plates have been issued, despite numerous efforts. Currently, the DMV issues special-interest license plates only after the collection of 7,500 individual paid license plate pre-orders is complete. This obstacle severely inhibits the specialty license plate program thereby depriving the state of much needed revenue.
AB 610 seeks a more feasible goal requiring 2,500 plates to be pre-ordered. AB 610 will provide an important new tool for helping to fund crucially needed government services. Please support this bill.