BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   AB 801|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 801
          Author:   Walters (R)
          Amended:  7/16/07 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMM.  :  9-1, 6/26/07
          AYES:  Lowenthal, Ashburn, Cedillo, Corbett, Dutton,  
            Harman, Kehoe, Torlakson, Yee
          NOES:  McClintock
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Simitian

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 7/10/07
          AYES: Romero, Cogdill, Cedillo, Margett, Ridley-Thomas

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  72-0, 5/10/07 (Consent) - See last page  
            for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Vehicles:  license plates

           SOURCE  :     The Transportation Corridor Agencies of Orange  

           DIGEST  :    This bill prohibits the use of or sale of a  
          product or device that is used to obscure a license plate  
          from being read by an electronic device operated by law  
          enforcement or a toll road.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law provides license plates shall at  


                                                                AB 801

          all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which  
          they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging,  
          shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible,  
          and shall be maintained in a condition to be clearly  
          legible.  The rear license plate shall be mounted not less  
          than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground and  
          the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60  
          inches from the ground with specified exceptions.
          Existing law provides that, with specified exceptions, no  
          covering may be used on license plates.
          Existing law provides that no casing frame, border, or  
          other device that obstructs or impairs the reading or  
          recognition of a license plate by a remote emission sensing  
          device shall be installed on or affixed to a vehicle.
          This bill provides instead that a casing, shield, frame,  
          border, product, or other device that obstructs or impairs  
          the reading or recognition of a license plate by an  
          electronic device operated by state or local law  
          enforcement, an electronic device operated in connection  
          with a toll road, high-occupancy toll lane, toll bridge, or  
          other toll facility, or a remote emission sensing device,  
          shall not be installed on, or affixed to, a vehicle.
          This bill provides that selling a product or device that  
          obscures or is intended to obscure the reading or  
          recognition of a license plate is punishable by a fine of  
          up to $250 per item sold.

           FISCAL EFFECT :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/21/07)

          The Transportation Corridor Agencies of Orange County  
          California State Automobile Association
          Orange County Transportation Authority 
          Metropolitan Transportation Authority
          South Bay Expressway


                                                                AB 801

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the Senate  
          Transportation Committee, "The author and sponsor, the  
          Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), note that TCA's  
          toll roads, Highway 73 and Highway 241, lose approximately  
          $400,000 each month due to toll evasion.  This results in  
          loss of revenue necessary to service bond payments for the  
          initial construction of the roads.  The sponsor notes that  
          a large component of this toll evasion arises from those  
          driving cars without plates (i.e., newly purchased vehicles  
          for which plates have not yet been mounted) but is unable  
          to quantify the toll losses attributable to unreadable  

          "The author points out that one means employed to evade  
          tolls is the use of commercial products to lessen the  
          ability of cameras to read the alpha-numeric characters on  
          license plates.  These products are sold online and in  
          automotive enthusiast magazines under names like  
          "PhotoBlockerTM" spray and "PhotoShieldTM" plate covers.   
          The advertised purpose of these products is to defeat law  
          enforcement cameras by applying a cover or a spray-on gloss  
          that is largely invisible, but is meant to reflect a  
          camera's flash, overexposing and making unreadable the  
          photograph of the license plate.

          "The author reports that the Metropolitan Transportation  
          Commission (MTC), which operates the San Francisco Bay Area  
          toll bridges, cites losses of at least $100,000 per month  
          from toll evasion.  The author indicates that she amended  
          the bill at the request of the Chair of the Assembly  
          Transportation Committee to include law enforcement  
          "electronic devices," such as red-light cameras."

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Adams, Aghazarian, Arambula, Bass, Beall, Benoit,  
            Berg, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Brownley, Caballero, Charles  
            Calderon, Carter, Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre, De  
            Leon, DeSaulnier, DeVore, Duvall, Emmerson, Eng, Evans,  
            Feuer, Fuller, Gaines, Galgiani, Garcia, Hancock,  
            Hayashi, Hernandez, Horton, Houston, Huff, Huffman,  
            Jeffries, Jones, Karnette, Keene, Krekorian, La Malfa,  
            Laird, Leno, Levine, Lieber, Ma, Maze, Mendoza, Mullin,  


                                                                AB 801

            Nakanishi, Nava, Niello, Parra, Plescia, Portantino,  
            Price, Richardson, Salas, Saldana, Silva, Smyth, Solorio,  
            Spitzer, Strickland, Swanson, Torrico, Tran, Villines,  
            Walters, Wolk, Nunez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Anderson, Dymally, Garrick, Lieu, Sharon  
            Runner, Ruskin, Soto, Vacancy

          JJA:nl  8/21/07   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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