BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






           SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE       BILL NO: AB 1908
          SENATOR ALAN LOWENTHAL, CHAIRMAN               AUTHOR:  cook
                                                         VERSION: 3/11/10
          Analysis by: Carrie Cornwell                   FISCAL:  yes
          Hearing date: June 29, 2010







          SUBJECT:

          Veterans plates

          DESCRIPTION:

          This bill allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to redesign  
          the veterans' organizations license plates.

          ANALYSIS:

          Existing law requires that in order to register a vehicle in  
          California, the registered owner pay a registration fee of $34,  
          a $22 surcharge for additional personnel for the California  
          Highway Patrol, various locally-imposed fees, and a vehicle  
          license fee (VLF) equal to 1.15% of a vehicle's value based on  
          purchase price depreciated according to a statutory schedule.

          In addition, any registered owner of a vehicle may apply to the  
          Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for veterans' organization  
          license plates for his or her vehicle. Veterans plates bear a  
          distinctive design that includes the word "veteran" along the  
          bottom of the plate and includes a decal on the left side of the  
          plate for one of over 100 sponsoring veterans' organizations,  
          such as the American Legion, 101st Airborne Division, or the  
          National Guard. In addition to the above fees, for veterans  
          plates a vehicle owner must pay: 

               $30 for the initial issuance of the plates and decals;
               $30 annually for each renewal that includes continued  
              display of the plates and decals;
               $35 to replace the plates if they become damaged;
               $10 to replace the decals if they become damaged; and
               $40 to personalize the plates;




          AB 1908 (COOK)                                           Page 2

                                                                       



          Revenues derived from these fees go, after paying DMV's costs  
          associated with veterans plates, to county veterans service  
          offices, except for revenues from the $10-fee for replacement  
          decals, which is divided between county veteran service officers  
          and the California Environmental License Plate Fund (ELP Fund).  
          The ELP Fund is used to support various state environmental  
          programs and agencies. 

           

          This bill  :

          1.Permits the Department of Veterans Affairs to modify the  
            distinctive designs of veterans plates and the associated  
            decals but prohibits DMV from issuing the new plates or decals  
            until it has issued all existing inventories of plates and  
            decals.

          2.Requires DMV, by July 1, 2011, to provide a link on its  
            website through which vehicle owners can order veterans  
            plates.

          3.Redirects from the ELP Fund to county veterans service  
            officers the half of revenues from the $10-charge to replace a  
            damaged veterans' organization decal.
          
          COMMENTS:

           1.Purpose  . The author introduced this bill to increase revenues  
            derived from veterans' organizations license plates and to  
            increase funds available for county veteran service officers.  
            According to the author, this bill will help the California  
            Department of Veterans Affairs and others to better market  
            veterans' organization license plates, because modifying the  
            plate and decal designs will make the plate more appealing. In  
            addition, having DMV make the plate available for on-line  
            ordering will stimulate sales. 

            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. The author's  
            office also indicates that elimination of the 50-50 split of  
            fee proceeds from replacement decals recognizes the fact that  
            the veterans license plate is intended to benefit veterans  




          AB 1908 (COOK)                                           Page 3

                                                                       


            programs, rather than environmental programs. 

           2.Additional revenues  . Initially authorized in 1991, the ELP  
            Fund provides funding that is used to support a variety of  
            state activities that have some environmental connection.  
            Examples of the entities that receive this funding include the  
            Resources Secretary, Department of Forestry, Department of  
            Fish and Game, Wildlife Conservation Board, Department of  
            Parks and Recreation, and various conservancies.

            According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee,  
            redirecting the half of the revenues from replacement of  
            veterans plate decals to veterans programs rather than the ELP  
            Fund will increase funding for those programs by about $6,000  
            per year. 

           3.Committee of second referral  . The Rules Committee referred  
            this bill to the Veterans Affairs Committee and to the  
            Transportation and Housing Committee. This bill passed that  
            committee on June 22 by a 4 to 0 vote.
          
          Assembly Votes:
               Floor:    76 - 0
               Appr:    17 - 0
               V.A.    9 - 0
               Trans:    14 - 0



          POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the Committee before noon on  
          Wednesday, 
                     June 23, 2010)

               SUPPORT:  California Association of County Veterans  
          Services Officers (sponsor)
                         AMVETS
                         American Legion
                         California Mental Health Directors Association
                         California State Commanders Veterans Council
                         Vietnam Veterans of America
          
               OPPOSED:  None received.