BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 244
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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 244 (Bonilla)
          As Amended  April 24, 2013
          Majority vote 

           TRANSPORTATION      16-0        VETERANS AFFAIRS    7-0         
           
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          |Ayes:|Lowenthal, Linder,        |Ayes:|Muratsuchi, Atkins,       |
          |     |Achadjian, Ammiano,       |     |Brown, Eggman, Fox,       |
          |     |Blumenfield, Bonta,       |     |Salas, Yamada             |
          |     |Buchanan, Daly, Frazier,  |     |                          |
          |     |Gatto, Holden, Logue,     |     |                          |
          |     |Morrell, Nazarian,        |     |                          |
          |     |Patterson, Quirk-Silva    |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           APPROPRIATIONS      17-0                                        
           
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          |Ayes:|Gatto, Harkey, Bigelow,   |     |                          |
          |     |Bocanegra, Bradford, Ian  |     |                          |
          |     |Calderon, Campos,         |     |                          |
          |     |Donnelly, Eggman, Gomez,  |     |                          |
          |     |Hall, Ammiano, Linder,    |     |                          |
          |     |Pan, Quirk, Wagner, Weber |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Requires the California Department of Veterans Affairs  
          (DVA) to sponsor a veterans' special interest license plate and  
          requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to  
          issue the veterans' plate if DVA meets the current statutory  
          requirements.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires DVA to sponsor a veterans' special interest license  
            plate and requires DMV to issue the veterans' plate if DVA  
            meets the current statutory requirements for the special  
            license plate program.  

          2)Requires that the design of the veterans' special interest  
            license plate be identical to the design of the veterans'  
            plate previously issued before January 1, 2010.  

          3)Mandates that revenue derived from the additional fees be  








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            deposited, after DMV deducts its administrative costs, in the  
            California Veterans Service Office (CVSO) Funds.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee:

          1)Potential one-time special fund costs of approximately  
            $400,000 to DMV to establish the veterans' special license  
            plate program, including computer programming changes and  
            updating of forms.  Pursuant to current law, DMV will make  
            computer programming and form changes only after program  
            applications meet the 7,500-application threshold.  The DMV  
            will incur minor ongoing costs to continue issuing specialty  
            license plates and renewals under the program.  All of the  
            DMV's initial and ongoing costs will be covered by a portion  
            of the additional $50 fee paid for specialized license plates.  
             

          2)Minor one-time costs to DVA to submit the program application  
            to DMV, design and print the license plate application, and  
            collect and hold applications and fees until 7,500  
            applications are received. DVA's costs will eventually be  
            recovered assuming sufficient participation in the program.  

          3)Potential ongoing additional revenue to fund CVSOs.  

           COMMENTS  :  Prior to 2007, any new special interest license plate  
          required specific legislative authorization.  That practice was  
          held to be unconstitutional by the federal courts in that the  
          Legislature approved some of the plates and rejected others,  
          while using no standardized or objective criteria for those  
          decisions.  In response to the court decision, AB 84 (Leslie),  
          Chapter 454, Statutes of 2006, established the current special  
          interest license plate program to provide a forum for government  
          speech that promotes California's state policies.  AB 84  
          excludes private organizations from seeking special interest  
          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 agency.   
          Furthermore, the process requires that at least 7,500 paid  
          applications must be received by the state agency prior to  
          notifying DMV.  The 7,500-application threshold was previously  
          put into statute for special interest license plates and was  








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          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 DMV and to avoid a proliferation  
          of different types of plates, which can be troublesome from a  
          law enforcement perspective.  

          The author contends that prior to 2010, DMV only offered a  
          "veterans" special interest license plate which could be  
          purchased by persons who serve or previously served in our  
          nation's armed forces.  In actuality, the plates were not  
          exclusive for "veterans-only" as the purchasers of the plates at  
          that time were not limited solely to veterans.  In 2010, in  
          order to garner more widespread appeal and license plate  
          acquisition, legislation was enacted that established an  
          "honoring veterans" license plate, replacing the "veterans-only"  
          plate.  Subsequently, since this change, veterans and veterans  
          groups have been asking for the return of the "veterans-only"  
          plate so they can be specifically identified as veterans who  
          have served their country.  This is especially significant for  
          veterans returning from current wars.  

          This bill strives to reestablish the veterans' special interest  
          license plate that was previously issued several years ago.   
          Further, the bill would direct monies generated from the  
          additional license plate fees to be deposited in the CVSO Fund.   


          Veterans groups support this bill that will allow veterans to  
          again be specifically identified in a special interest license  
          plate.  Further, they support the bill's provisions that could  
          eventually increase funding to CVSOs that help veterans gain  
          access to benefits that they have deservedly earned through  
          their military service.  

          Writing in support of this bill, the California Mental Health  
          Directors Association indicates that this bill will generate  
          additional resources to support the valuable local services that  
          CVSOs provide to veterans and their families in terms of free  
          claims assistance, referrals to programs for which veterans may  
          be eligible, and partnering with county mental health  
          departments for veterans assistance with mental health and  
          substance abuse disorders.  

           








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          Analysis Prepared by  :    Ed Imai / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093 FN:  
          0000829