Amended in Senate August 12, 2013

Amended in Senate July 8, 2013

Amended in Assembly April 24, 2013

California Legislature—2013–14 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 244

Introduced by Assembly Member Bonilla

February 6, 2013

An act to amend Section 5156 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


AB 244, as amended, Bonilla. Vehicles: license plates: veterans.

Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue special license plates under a special interest license plate program, as specified, and authorizes organizations, including veterans’ organizations, to participate in that program. Existing law authorizes any person who is the registered owner or lessee of a vehicle to apply for a special interest license plate that has a distinctive design or decal that honors all veterans or veterans who served in a particular war or armed conflict. Under existing law, these special interest license plates are subject to fees for issuance, renewal, or personalization that are additional to those required for nonspecialized license plates. Existing law requires that the revenue from those additional fees, less the DMV’s costs, be deposited in the Veterans Service Office Fund, and further requires that money in the Veterans Service Office Fund be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the Department of Veterans Affairs for allocation and disbursement to counties for the operation of county veterans service offices.

Existing law also establishes a specialized license plate program and requires the DMV to issue specialized license plates to a sponsoring state agency that meets certain requirements. Existing law requires that DMV charge specified additional fees for the issuance, renewal, or transfer of specialized license plates, and requires that these additional fees, less the DMV’s administrative costs, be deposited in the Specialized License Plate Fund for appropriation and allocation to each sponsoring state agency, as specified.

This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to apply to the DMV to sponsor a veterans specialized license plate, and would require the DMV to issue the veterans specialized license plates if the Department ofbegin delete Veteran’send deletebegin insert Veteransend insert Affairs meets the above-described requirements. The bill would require that these license plates be subject tobegin delete theend deletebegin insert specifiedend insert additional feesbegin delete described aboveend delete, and that thebegin insert department deposit theend insert revenue from those additional fees,begin delete less the department’s costs, be depositedend deletebegin insert after deducting its administrative costs,end insert in the Veterans Service Office Fund.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1


Section 5156 of the Vehicle Code is amended to



(a) (1) A state agency may apply to the department to
4sponsor a specialized license plate program, and the department
5shall issue specialized license plates for that program, if the agency
6complies with all of the requirements of this article.

7(2) The department shall not issue specialized license plates to
8a state agency for a vehicle that is exempt from the payment of
9registration fees pursuant to Section 9101 or 9103.

10(b) Except as provided in subdivision (d), the department shall
11not establish a specialized license plate program for an agency
12until the department has received not less than 7,500 applications
13for that agency’s specialized license plates. The agency shall collect
14and hold applications for the plates. Once the agency has received
15at least 7,500 applications, it shall submit the applications, along
16with the necessary fees, to the department. The department shall
17not issue a specialized license plate until the agency has received
18and submitted to the department not less than 7,500 applications
P3    1for that particular specialized license plate within the time period
2prescribed in this section. Advance payment to the department by
3the agency representing the department’s estimated or actual
4administrative costs associated with the issuance of a particular
5specialized license plate shall not constitute compliance with this
6requirement. The agency shall have 12 months, following the date
7of approval of the agency’s initial application to sponsor a
8specialized license plate program, to receive the required number
9of applications. If, after that 12 months, 7,500 applications have
10not been received, the agency shall immediately do either of the

12(1) Refund to all applicants all fees or deposits that have been

14(2) Contact the department to indicate the agency’s intent to
15undertake collection of additional applications and fees or deposits
16for an additional period, not to exceed 12 months, in order to obtain
17the minimum 7,500 applications. If the agency elects to exercise
18the option under this subparagraph, it shall contact each applicant
19who has submitted an application with the appropriate fees or
20deposits to determine if the applicant wishes a refund of fees or
21deposits or requests the continuance of the holding of the
22application and fees or deposits until that time that the agency has
23received 7,500 applications. The agency shall refund the fees or
24deposits to an applicant so requesting. The agency shall not collect
25and hold applications for a period exceeding 24 months following
26 the date of approval of the agency’s initial application to sponsor
27a specialized license plate program.

28(c) (1) If the number of outstanding and valid specialized license
29plates in a particular program, except as provided in subdivision
30(d), provided for in this article is less than 7,500, the department
31shall notify the sponsoring agency of that fact and shall inform the
32agency that if that number is less than 7,500 one year from the
33date of that notification, the department will no longer issue or
34replace those specialized license plates.

35(2) Those particular specialized license plates that were issued
36prior to the discontinuation provided by paragraph (1) may continue
37to be used and attached to the vehicle for which they were issued
38and may be renewed, retained, or transferred pursuant to this code.

39(d) (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs may sponsor a Gold
40Star Family specialized license plate program and the department
P4    1may establish this specialized license plate program in the absence
2of 7,500 paid applications as provided in subdivision (d) of Section

4(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall, upon receiving
5proof of eligibility from an applicant, authorize the department to
6issue Gold Star Family specialized license plates for a vehicle
7owned by an eligible family member of a member of the Armed
8Forces of the United States who was killed in the line of duty while
9on active duty during wartime service, or during an international
10terrorist attack that has been recognized by the United States
11 Secretary of Defense as an attack against the United States or a
12foreign nation friendly to the United States, or during military
13operations while serving outside the United States, including
14 commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States,
15or as part of a peacekeeping force, which includes personnel
16assigned to a force engaged in a peacekeeping operation authorized
17by the United Nations Security Council. An eligible family member
18is defined as all of the following:

19(A) A person who is otherwise eligible under this article to
20register a motor vehicle.

21(B) A person who shows proof from the United States
22Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense that
23the member who was in the Armed Forces of the United States
24was killed in the line of duty while on active duty in the military.

25(C) A person who bears, and shows proof satisfactory to the
26Department of Veterans Affairs of, one of the following
27relationships to the member of the Armed Forces killed in the line
28of duty while serving on active duty:

29(i) Widow.

30(ii) Widower.

31(iii) Biological parent.

32(iv) Adoptive parent.

33(v) Stepparent.

34(vi) Foster parent in loco parentis.

35(vii) Biological child.

36(viii) Adoptive child.

37(ix) Stepchild.

38(x) Sibling.

39(xi) Half-sibling.

40(xii) Grandparent.

P5    1(xiii) Grandchild.

2(3) Upon the death of a person issued a Gold Star Family
3specialized license plate, the license plate shall be transferred to
4the surviving spouse, if he or she requests, or shall be returned to
5the department within 60 days after the death of the plateholder
6or upon the expiration of the vehicle registration, whichever occurs

8(e) (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall apply to the
9department to sponsor a veterans specialized license plate program,
10and the department shall issue license plates for that program if
11the Department of Veterans Affairs meets the requirements
12prescribed by this section.

13(2) The design of the veterans specialized license plate shall be
14identical to the design of the veterans special interest license plate
15issued pursuant to Section 5068 on or before January 1, 2010, and
16the decals for the plate shall be identical to those offered pursuant
17to Section 5068.

begin delete

18(3) Notwithstanding subdivision (c) of Section 5157, revenue
19derived from the additional fees prescribed by Section 5157 for
20the issuance, renewal, or transfer of the veterans specialized license
21plates shall be deposited, after the department deducts its
22administrative costs, in the Veterans Service Office Fund, created
23by Section 972.2 of the Military and Veterans Code.

end delete
begin insert

24(3) Notwithstanding Section 5157, in addition to the regular
25fees for an original registration, a renewal of registration, or a
26transfer of registration, the following fees shall be paid by
27individuals applying for a special interest license plate or a decal
28issued under this subdivision:

end insert
begin insert

29(A) Fifty dollars ($50) for the initial issuance of the plates and
30decals. The plates shall be permanent and shall not be required
31to be replaced.

end insert
begin insert

32(B) Forty dollars ($40) for each renewal of registration that
33includes the continued display of the plates or decals.

end insert
begin insert

34(C) Fifteen dollars ($15) for transfer of the plates to another

end insert
begin insert

36(D) Thirty-five dollars ($35) for replacement plates, if they
37become damaged or unserviceable.

end insert
begin insert

38(E) Ten dollars ($10) for replacement decals, if they become
39damaged or unserviceable.

end insert
begin insert

P6    1(F) Seventy-eight dollars ($78) for the personalization of the

end insert
begin insert

3(4) After deducting its administrative costs under this
4subdivision, the department shall deposit the revenue derived from
5the additional fees provided in paragraph (3) in the Veterans
6Service Office Fund created by Section 972.2 of the Military and
7Veterans Code.

end insert