BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 610
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          AB 610 (Solorio)
          As Amended  March 21, 2012
          2/3 vote.  Urgency
          |ASSEMBLY:  |65-7 |(June 01, 2011) |SENATE: |38-0 |(April 12,     |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2012)          |
           Original Committee Reference:   TRANS  .  

           SUMMARY  :  Provides an additional 12 months for the collection of 
          the 7,500 paid applications necessary for the Veterinary Medical 
          Board to successfully sponsor a specialized license plate.  

           The Senate amendments  : 

          1)Delete the prior contents of the bill and insert the current 

          2)Add an urgency clause allowing the bill to go into effect 

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Allows any state agency to apply to the Department of Motor 
            Vehicles (DMV) to sponsor a specialized license plate program. 

          2)Requires DMV to issue specialized license plates for that 
            program, if the agency complies with all statutory 

          3)Prohibits DMV from establishing a specialized license plate 
            program for an agency until it has received not less than 
            7,500 paid applications for that agency's specialized license 

          4)Requires the agency to collect and hold applications for the 
            plates.  Once the agency has received at least 7,500 
            applications, it must submit the applications, along with the 
            necessary fees, to DMV.  

          5)Prohibits advance payment to DMV of its estimated or actual 


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            administrative costs associated with the issuance of a 
            particular specialized license plate from constituting 
            compliance with the 7,500 application threshold requirement.  

          6)Requires funds accruing to a sponsoring state agency from the 
            sale of specialized license plates to be expended exclusively 
            for projects and programs that promote that agency's official 
            policy, mission or work.  

          7)Allows specialized license plates to feature a distinctive 
            design, decal, or distinctive message in a two-inch by 
            three-inch space to the left of the plate's numerical sequence 
            and a space not larger than 5/8 inch in height below the 
            numerical series.  

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:

          1)Allowed a state agency to sponsor a specialized license plate 
            in the absence of 7,500 paid applications if the conditions 
            described below are met.  

          2)Prohibited DMV from establishing a specialized license plate 
            program for a state agency until DMV has received at least 
            2,500 paid applications for that agency's specialized license 
            plates and sufficient funds from donations to cover its 
            startup costs for plate manufacturing.  

          3)Specified that advance payment to DMV of DMV's program costs 
            by the agency sponsoring the plate may not constitute 
            compliance with the 2,500 application requirement.  

          4)Allowed the sponsoring agency to actively request and receive 
            donations for the specialized license plate program, which may 
            consist of donations from public and private entities for 
            deposit into the Specialized License Plate Fund.  

          5)Required earnings generated from donations to be retained for 
            the prospective specialized license plate program.  

          6)Allowed funds to be appropriated to DMV by the Legislature for 
            the necessary administrative costs of establishing the 
            specialized license plate program, upon DMV's determination 
            that there are sufficient funds for the prospective 


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            specialized license plate.  

          7)Granted the sponsoring agency 12 months, following the date of 
            approval of the agency's initial application to sponsor a 
            specialized license plate program, to receive the required 
            number of applications.  

          8)Allowed the agency to either refund the fees or collect paid 
            applications for an additional 12 months if it is unable to 
            meet the 2,500 application standard within the first 12 
            months.  If, after 24 months, the 2,500 application standard 
            still has not been met, all application fees must be refunded. 

          9)Discontinued the issuance of a specialized plate approved 
            under this process if its population falls below 2,500 for one 
            year but allows those plates that have already been issued to 
            continue to be used.  

          10)Required, for full-plate graphic design plates, an additional 
            $50 fee for original issuance, a $40 fee for renewal, a $15 
            fee for transfer, and a $35 fee for a substitute plate.  

          11)Required the design of the plate to be consistent with the 
            criteria contained in existing law that applies to specialized 
            license plates.  

          12)Required the revenues collected from the additional fees to 
            be allocated to the sponsoring agency for expenditure 
            exclusively for projects and programs that promote the 
            agency's official policy, mission or work.  

          13)Required DMV to provide the sponsoring agency an estimate of 
            its actual costs to initiate the license plate program.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown.  The current version of this bill was 
          withdrawn from the Senate Appropriations Committee pursuant to 
          Senate Rule 28.8.  

           COMMENTS  :  Prior to 2007, any new special interest license plate 
          required specific legislative authorization.  This practice was 
          held to be unconstitutional in that the Legislature approved 
          some of the plates, and rejected others, using no standardized 
          or objective criteria for those decisions.  Subsequently, as a 


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          result of AB 84 (Leslie), Chapter 91, Statutes of 2006, an 
          administrative process has been established wherein DMV will 
          issue specialized license plates when they are sponsored by a 
          state agency, the plate's message and the revenues it generates 
          support that agency's program, and at least 7,500 paid 
          applications have been received.  The 7,500-application 
          threshold was previously put into statute for special interest 
          license plates and was arrived at in an attempt to assure that 
          DMV's startup costs would be fully covered by the portion of the 
          registration fee surcharge that is directed to the department 
          and to avoid a proliferation of different types of plates, which 
          can be troublesome from a law enforcement perspective.  

          The author of this bill asserts that the 7,500 application 
          requirement sets "a very high threshold for pre-orders."  He 
          complains that this, in conjunction with another change enacted 
          in 2006 prohibiting full-plate graphics (also important to law 
          enforcement), has resulted in "no new plates (having) been 
          issued, even though numerous nonprofits have attempted to create 
          new special-interest license plates."  He goes on to point out 
          that "specialty license plates bring additional revenue to the 
          DMV, while providing a funding source for various nonprofit 
          charities."  Although the introduced version of the bill would 
          have allowed a plate to be established with only 2,500 
          applications, the bill now simply gives the Veterinary Medical 
          Board an additional year to meet the standard 7,500 application 

          This bill is supported by a number of animal welfare advocates 
          who are desirous of establishing a Pet Lover's Plate that can 
          raise funds to support spay and neuter programs.  They feel the 
          7,500 application standard to be overly burdensome and see this 
          bill as a means of boosting the prospects of obtaining this new 

          Legislative history:  AB 1815 (Emmerson) of 2010, would have 
          allowed the establishment of a NASCAR plate, with the proceeds 
          benefitting the Bureau of Automotive Repair's vehicle repair and 
          retirement program.  That bill passed the Assembly but died in 
          the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee without being 
          heard.  AB 1242 (Achadjian) of 2011 would have established a 
          NASCAR plate whose proceeds would benefit the Foundation for 
          California Community Colleges.  AB 1242 is a two-year bill that 
          ended up not being pursued.  


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

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