BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1908
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 5, 2010

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                     AB 1908 (Cook) - As Amended:  March 11, 2010
           
          SUBJECT  :  Special interest license plates

           SUMMARY  :  Allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to  
          modify the design of license plates that support veterans  
          organizations.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Allows DVA to modify the distinctive design or decal for  
            veterans' organization special interest license plates,  
            consistent with existing statutory design criteria.  

          2)Allows the modified license plates to be issued only after all  
            existing plates or decals have been issued.  

          3)Requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), by July 1,  
            2011, to maintain on its Internet Web site, a link to order  
            online the modified license plates.  

          4)Repeals the statute that currently requires proceeds from the  
            $10 fee for replacement decals to be divided evenly between  
            the Veterans Service Office Fund and the California  
            Environmental License Plate Fund.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Allows any state agency to apply to DMV to sponsor a  
            specialized license plate program.  

          2)Allows any veterans' organization to apply for a special  
            interest license plate, the proceeds of which are deposited  
            into the Veterans Service Office Fund.  

          3)Requires special interest license plates to provide a 2 inch  
            by 3 inch space to the left of the plate's numerical series  
            and a space of 5/8 inch in height below the numerical series  
            for a distinctive design, decal, or descriptive message.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown.  In calendar 2008, the veterans plate  
          generated $600,000 in revenues.  









                                                                  AB 1908
                                                                  Page  2

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, this bill is intended to  
          help county veteran services officers (CVSOs) and DVA to better  
          market veterans organization license plates.  The resulting  
          revenue increase would enable CVSOs to expand their operations  
          of providing veterans and their families free claims assistance  
          and referral to local, state and federal programs.  It is  
          believed that a modification of the plate's design will make it  
          more appealing, while having DMV make the plate available for  
          on-line ordering will stimulate sales.  Finally, the bill  
          repeals the current requirement for one-half of the revenue from  
          replacement decals to be deposited in the Environmental License  
          Plate Fund.  

          CVSOs provide a valuable resource for California's large  
          population of veterans.  As the author reports, "With offices in  
          54 of California's 58 counties, and employing over 250 local  
          government employees, the CVSOs represent a significant resource  
          to our veteran community.  This significant human resource  
          represents a highly effective and low-cost solution to the  
          challenges of service delivery to California's large veterans'  
          community.  Because CVSOs are located in communities statewide,  
          they are often the initial point of local contact for claimants  
          accessing the VA benefit system.  Clients are also referred to  
          CVSOs by federal, state and service organization personnel in  
          recognition of their accessibility and acknowledged expertise in  
          the field of veterans' services."  

          The author notes that the intention of the veterans plate was  
          that it would be available to all licensed Californians for  
          purchase.  Since the current design of the plate simply reads  
          "Veteran" with a red and blue line on the bottom portion of the  
          plate, he contends it sends the message that only veterans may  
          purchase and display the plate.  This is believed to hamper the  
          sales goals of the CVSOs and DVA.  

           Legislative history  :  The special interest license plate program  
          for veterans was created by AB 3033 (Conroy), Chapter 1275,  
          Statutes of 1992.  

           Double referral  :  This bill is also referred to the Committee on  
          Veterans Affairs.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 








                                                                 AB 1908
                                                                  Page  3

           
          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers  
          (sponsor)
          County of San Bernardino (sponsor)

           Opposition 
           
          None received
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :   Howard Posner / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093