Specialty Plate: Bill increases fairness and manageability

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE – House Bill (HB) 1279, authored by State Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) and co-authored by State Reps. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), Ed Clere (R-New Albany) Ed Delaney (D-Indianapolis) and Steven Stemler (D-Jeffersonville) passed through the House yesterday with a 92 to 6 vote. The bill will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

If enacted, the bill would create an eight member bipartisan legislative advisory committee to review, recommend and approve specialty plates to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Annually, the committee would meet twice with the ability to approve 5 plates per year. Currently, there are 103 specialty plates in the state; HB 1279 limits the total amount of plates to 150.

“Creating an eight member legislative committee and limiting the number of plates to 150 is intended to bring manageability and fairness on this issue,” said Rep. Soliday. “This panel’s equal bipartisan composition induces a simplistic and balanced approach to the decision making process dealing with Indiana’s specialty plates.”

In addition, HB 1279 establishes certain criteria for groups applying for a specialty plate. Under this bill, organizations would have to clearly blueprint where funds will go once collected – instituting a layer of accountability and transparency on the matter. Also, groups must provide at least 500 signatures of those pledging to purchase their plate, and if accepted, the group would have to sell 500 plates in their first two years. After those years, the group must then sell 500 annually. If a group fails to meet the requirements by the allotted time, they will be placed on probation and evaluated by the BMV.

“The transparency and accountability standards currently required by the BMV are a necessary part of the process, and I believe these increased measures will improve the system and are well within reason,” said Rep. Soliday. “Many non-profits already have similar standards in place because they want the evaluation process to exist fluidly and efficiently, so these new requirements should not come as a major alteration.”

An amendment to the bill, authored by Rep. Clere, establishes a National Guard License Plate. Some National Guardsmen living in Indiana might report to units outside of the state based on their military occupational specialty. Those soldiers are then considered guardsmen of the state they report to which might not have a National Guard specialty plate. By creating this plate, those soldiers drilling in other states but living in Indiana would have the option of purchasing one.

Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information about HB 1279.