BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   AB 610|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 610
          Author:   Solorio (D), et al.
          Amended:  3/21/12 in Senate
          Vote:     27 - Urgency

          AYES:  DeSaulnier, Gaines, Harman, Kehoe, Pavley, Rubio, 
            Simitian, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Lowenthal
          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  65-7, 6/1/11 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Special interest license plates

           SOURCE  :     Social Compassion in Legislation

           DIGEST  :    This bill provides the California Veterinary 
          Medical Board extra time to collect 7,500 prepaid 
          applications and fees in order to establish a special 
          interest license plate.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law provides for a specialized 
          license plate program, under which the Department of Motor 
          Vehicles (DMV) may issue new special interest license 
          plates only on behalf of state agencies provided that for 
          each state agency:

          1. The license plate has "a design or contains a message 


                                                                AB 610

             that publicizes or promotes a state agency, or the 
             official policy, mission, or work of a state agency."  
             The design shall also be confined to the left of and 
             below the numerical series (i.e., no full plate designs 

          2. The state agency submits 7,500 applications and 
             accompanying fees to DMV for the license plate.  The 
             state agency has 12 months to collect these applications 
             and fees, but it can extend that to a maximum of 24 
             months if it notifies and offers to refund fees to those 
             that applied during the first 12 months.  Once a plate 
             is issued, DMV stops issuing that plate for the agency 
             if the number of plates drops below 7,500.

          3. Most plate revenues are used for "projects and programs 
             that promote the state or local agency's official 
             policy, mission, or work."  These funds are deposited 
             into the Specialized License Plate Fund and are 
             continuously appropriated to the agency sponsoring the 

          In addition to the usual registration and license fees, DMV 
          charges the following additional fees for specialized 
          license plates:  $50 (original), $40 (renewal), $15 
          (transfer), and $35 (license substitute) and deducts its 
          administrative costs from the revenues generated.  A 
          sponsoring state agency may not spend more that 25 percent 
          of its license plate funds for administrative, marketing, 
          and promotional costs associated with the plate, and it 
          must submit an annual accounting report to DMV.

          This bill:

          1. Allows the Veterinary Medical Board (Vet Board), by June 
             30, 2012, to extend from 24 months to 36 months the 
             maximum amount of time that it may collect prepaid 
             applications for a specialized license plate it is 
             sponsoring.  The Vet Board must contact vehicle owners 
             who have applied for the plate already and offer to 
             refund the fee they have paid if they do not want to 
             continue to wait for the board to meet the 7,500 
             threshold and DMV then to produce the plate.



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          2. Contains an urgency clause.

          3. Sunsets its provisions on July 1, 2013.

           Urgency measure  .  The Vet Board began collecting 
          applications and fees for the Pet Lover/Spay and Neuter 
          Plate in June 2010.  A year later, the Vet Board notified 
          applicants that it was going to continue collecting 
          pre-paid applications for another 12 months and offered to 
          refund their fees.  It appears that the Vet Board will not 
          reach the 7,500 threshold by June of this year when the 
          second 12 months concludes.  Should this bill, an urgency 
          measure, become law by June 2012, then the Vet Board will 
          be able to again extend collection of applications and fees 
          for another 12 months until June 2013.

           History of special interest license plates:  before 2004  .  
          Historically, the Vehicle Code required DMV to issue, upon 
          legislative authorization, a special interest license plate 
          bearing a distinctive design or decal of a sponsoring 
          organization to any vehicle owner that pays specified fees, 
          provided that the sponsoring organization met certain 
          conditions.  These conditions included that the sponsor of 
          a special interest license plate had to collect 7,500 
          applications and fees for a special license plate in order 
          to pay DMV's costs of creating a new plate, which are 
          approximately $375,000 or 7,500 applications times the $50 

           History of special interest license plates:  since 2004  .  
          In 2004, a federal court decision,  Women's Resource Network 
          v. Gourley, E.D.  Cal 2004, F.Supp.2d, 2004 U.S. Dist., 
          invalidated the provisions of the Vehicle Code described in 
          the above urgency measure comment.  In the  Gourley  
          decision, the court declared California's special interest 
          license plate statutes unconstitutional because they 
          violated the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.  
          The court specifically objected to the Legislature "picking 
          and choosing" special license plates that private 
          organizations propose, in essence promoting the message of 
          some organizations while denying this right to others.  The 
          court did allow the ten special interest license plates 



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          existing at the time of its decision to remain in use and 
          available to new applicants, as they are today.

          In response to the court decision, AB 84 (Leslie), Chapter 
          454, Statutes of 2006, established the current specialized 
          license plate program to provide a forum for government 
          speech that promotes California's state policies.  The bill 
          excludes private organizations from seeking specialized 
          license plates as a forum for private speech, and thus 
          addresses the court's objection.  Plates now created and 
          the revenue they generate must publicize or promote a state 
          agency, or the official policy, mission, or work of a state 

          To date, no license plates have been issued under AB 84's 
          specialized license plate program due to an inability to 
          collect 7,500 paid applications.

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

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  4/9/12)

          Social Compassion in Legislation (source)
          Animal Legal Defense Fund
          Bay Area Open Space Council
          City of Long Beach
          City of Los Angeles
          Honorable Pam Slater-Price, District 3 Supervisor, San 
          Diego County
          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
          PAW PAC
          Take Me Home

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The author introduced this bill at 
          the request of the Social Compassion in Legislation 
          organization, which since June 2010 in concert with the Vet 
          Board has been promoting sales of the Pet 
          Lover's/California Spay and Neuter Plate in an effort to 
          raise additional funds for the spay and neuter trust fund 
          to distribute grants to eligible agencies throughout the 
          state.  The sponsor reports that it and the Vet Board are 
          encountering significant difficulty in meeting the 
          threshold of 7,500 applications for the license plate.  



                                                                AB 610

          This bill provides the Vet Board with an additional year to 
          reach the 7,500 threshold.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  65-7, 6/1/11
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, Bill 
            Berryhill, Block, Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, 
            Brownley, Buchanan, Butler, Charles Calderon, Campos, 
            Carter, Cedillo, Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, 
            Eng, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes, Furutani, Beth 
            Gaines, Galgiani, Gatto, Hagman, Hall, Hayashi, Roger 
            Hernández, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Huffman, Jones, Lara, 
            Logue, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Miller, Mitchell, 
            Morrell, Nestande, Norby, Olsen, Pan, Perea, Portantino, 
            Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Swanson, Torres, Valadao, 
            Wagner, Wieckowski, Williams, Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Donnelly, Grove, Halderman, Harkey, Knight, Mansoor, 
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Allen, Garrick, Gordon, Gorell, 
            Jeffries, Monning, V. Manuel Pérez, Silva

          JJA:kc  4/9/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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