BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1908
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 13, 2010

                                 Paul J. Cook, Chair
                     AB 1908 (Cook) - As Amended:  March 11, 2010
          SUBJECT  :  Special interest license plates

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

          1)Allows California Department of Veterans Affairs 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 Department of Motor  
            Vehicles 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
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           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, this bill is intended to  
          help county veteran services officers (CVSOs) and California  
          Department of Veterans Affairs to better market veterans  
          organization license plates.  The resulting revenue increase  
          would enable county veteran services officers 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 Department of Motor  
          Vehicles 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.  

          The county veteran services officers are established at the  
          discretion of each county's board of supervisors.  When a board  
          of supervisors establishes a county veteran services officer,  
          the county is responsible for funding the majority of its  
          operations, appointing the officer of the county veteran  
          services officers, and determining the level of staffing and  
          facilities needed. The county veteran services officers are  
          typically the first point of contact for veterans in applying  
          for benefits offered by the federal Veterans Administration. The  
          help county veteran services officers play a key role in helping  
          veterans and their families pursue and receive the benefits and  
          services for which these individuals may qualify.

          The county veteran services officers 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 county  
          veteran services officers 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 county veteran services officers are located  
          in communities statewide, they are often the initial point of  
          local contact for claimants accessing the federal Veterans  
          Affairs  benefit system.  Clients are also referred to county  
          veteran services officers 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  


                                                                  AB 1908
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          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 county veteran services officers and  
          California Department of Veterans Affairs.  

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


          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers  
          County of San Bernardino (sponsor)
          American Legion, Department of California
          AMVETS, Department of California
          Vietnam Veterans of America, CA State Council
          None on file.
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Eric Worthen / V. A. / (916) 319-3550