BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:    AB 516        Hearing Date:    July 14, 2015    
          
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          |Author:    |Mullin                                               |
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          |Version:   |June 30, 2015                                        |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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          |Consultant:|MK                                                   |
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                    Subject:  Vehicles: Temporary License Plates



          HISTORY

          Source:   Metropolitan Transportation Commission

          Prior Legislation:AB 2197 (Mullin) 2014 held in Assembly  
          Appropriations

          Support:  California New Car Dealers Association; The  
                    Metropolitan Transportation Commission; Santa Clara  
                    Valley Transportation Authority; Transportation  
                    Corridor Agencies

          Opposition:California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (unless  
                    amended); Car Dealers Saving Lives; Consumers for Auto  
                    Reliability and Safety (unless amended); Lawyers'  
                    Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay  
                    Area (unless amended)

          Assembly Floor Vote:                 74 - 1


          PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to: 1) require the Department of  
          Motor Vehicles (DMV) to create a process to issue temporary  
          license plates (TLPs) by January 1, 2018; 2) require dealers to  






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          attach TLPs to all unplated vehicles when they are sold  
          beginning January 1, 2018; and 3) makes the forging, altering  
          etcetera of a temporary license plate a jail wobbler.
          
          Existing law requires car dealers, when selling a vehicle, to  
          use the report-of-sale forms issued by the DMV, to give written  
          notice of the sale to the DMV not later than the fifth calendar  
          day after the sale, and to display a copy of the report of sale  
          on the vehicle. (Vehicle Code  4456)

          This bill sunsets the above provision on January 1, 2018 and  
          creates a new electronic report system that the DMV and car  
          dealers shall use beginning on January 1, 2018.

          This bill requires that DMV create a system to issue temporary  
          license plates for cars sold that do not already have a license  
          plate.

          Existing law permits vehicles displaying a copy of the  
          report-of-sale to be operated until the license plates are  
          received by the purchaser or for 90 days, whichever occurs  
          first.  The penalty for failing to display the plate is a fix-it  
          ticket. (Vehicle Code  4456)

          This bill provides that a vehicle displaying a report-of-sale  
          form or temporary license plate may be operated without license  
          plates until the license plates and registration card are  
          received by the purchaser or a 90 day period commencing with the  
          date of the sale of the vehicle has expired.
          Existing law authorizes dealers to charge document preparation  
          fees of $80 for new cars and $65 for used cars. (Vehicle Code   
          4456.5)

          This bill increases those fees to $90 and $75 beginning on  
          January 1, 2018.

          Existing law makes the altering, forging etcetera of various DMV  
          documents a jail wobbler. (Vehicle Code  4463)

          This bill would make the altering, forging etcetera of a  
          temporary license plate a jail wobbler.

                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION

          For the past eight years, this Committee has scrutinized  
          legislation referred to its jurisdiction for any potential  






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          impact on prison overcrowding.  Mindful of the United States  
          Supreme Court ruling and federal court orders relating to the  
          state's ability to provide a constitutional level of health care  
          to its inmate population and the related issue of prison  
          overcrowding, this Committee has applied its "ROCA" policy as a  
          content-neutral, provisional measure necessary to ensure that  
          the Legislature does not erode progress in reducing prison  
          overcrowding.   

          On February 10, 2014, the federal court ordered California to  
          reduce its in-state adult institution population to 137.5% of  
          design capacity by February 28, 2016, as follows:   

                 143% of design bed capacity by June 30, 2014;
                 141.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2015; and,
                 137.5% of design bed capacity by February 28, 2016. 

          In February of this year the administration reported that as "of  
          February 11, 2015, 112,993 inmates were housed in the State's 34  
          adult institutions, which amounts to 136.6% of design bed  
          capacity, and 8,828 inmates were housed in out-of-state  
          facilities.  This current population is now below the  
          court-ordered reduction to 137.5% of design bed capacity."(  
          Defendants' February 2015 Status Report In Response To February  
          10, 2014 Order, 2:90-cv-00520 KJM DAD PC, 3-Judge Court, Coleman  
          v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (fn. omitted).

          While significant gains have been made in reducing the prison  
          population, the state now must stabilize these advances and  
          demonstrate to the federal court that California has in place  
          the "durable solution" to prison overcrowding "consistently  
          demanded" by the court.  (Opinion Re: Order Granting in Part and  
          Denying in Part Defendants' Request For Extension of December  
          31, 2013 Deadline, NO. 2:90-cv-0520 LKK DAD (PC), 3-Judge Court,  
          Coleman v. Brown, Plata v. Brown (2-10-14).  The Committee's  
          consideration of bills that may impact the prison population  
          therefore will be informed by the following questions:

              Whether a proposal erodes a measure which has contributed  
               to reducing the prison population;
              Whether a proposal addresses a major area of public safety  
               or criminal activity for which there is no other  
               reasonable, appropriate remedy;
              Whether a proposal addresses a crime which is directly  
               dangerous to the physical safety of others for which there  
               is no other reasonably appropriate sanction; 






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              Whether a proposal corrects a constitutional problem or  
               legislative drafting error; and
              Whether a proposal proposes penalties which are  
               proportionate, and cannot be achieved through any other  
               reasonably appropriate remedy.


          COMMENTS
          1.Need for The Bill

          According to the author:

               Under current law cars are allowed to drive without  
               permanent plates for up to 90 days, but in practice,  
               many people drive without plates for even longer.  
               Because of the state's system of simply requiring a  
               folded up copy of the report-of-sale in the inside  
               windshield prior to permanent plates being installed,  
               it's impossible for law enforcement to know whether  
               the 90-day period has lapsed.  The result is that  
               thousands of vehicles drive on our highways and local  
               streets every day with no license plate, creating a  
               public safety hazard and reducing toll revenue by $15  
               million per year as a result of vehicles without  
               plates using toll roads and bridges without payment.

               AB 516 is not breaking new ground at the national  
               level, it's finally bringing California into the  
               mainstream. Specifically, 

                           35 states have some form of unique  
                    temporary tag system, requiring the display of a  
                    visible, unique ID number with expiration date.
                           Of the 14 that do not (other than  
                    California): 
                    o           10 assign the license plate to the  
                      vehicle's owner, rather than vehicle, enabling  
                      immediate placement of plate on a newly  
                      purchased car. 
                    o           4 require the vehicle to be  
                      permanently registered within 45 days or less.
                           AB 516(Mullin) proposes a point-of-sale,  
                    self-financing, temporary tag system similar to  
                    that in operation in 13 states and the District  
                    of Columbia. 
                           Vehicles without plates are harder to  






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                    locate when involved in a crime, whether a  
                    hit-and-run accident or a more serious crime.  
                    This is why last year's bill, AB 2197, was  
                    supported by the three major local law  
                    enforcement associations. 
                           According to the U.S. Justice Department,  
                    50 percent of Amber Alerts in 2011 were solved as  
                    a result of a member of the public or law  
                    enforcement recognizing a vehicle. Their best  
                    practices call for including plate number in  
                    Amber Alert notices. 
                           The California Transportation  
                    Infrastructure Priorities report recommends  
                    Caltrans embrace pricing and express lanes to  
                    better manage congestion and operations of the  
                    state highway system while generating new revenue  
                    (Recommendation 10.3, page 12). 
                           This new direction depends on automated  
                    license plate readers for enforcement.  It only  
                    works if all drivers play by the same rules and  
                    have license plates installed on their vehicles.





          2.  Temporary Plates
          
          In general this bill requires the Department of Motor Vehicles  
          (DMV) to create a process to issue temporary license plates  
          (TLPs) by January 1, 2018, and requires dealers to attach TLPs  
          to all unplated vehicles when they are sold beginning January 1,  
          2018.

          The author is concerned that current law allows thousands of  
          vehicles to drive on our roads with no license plate, creating a  
          public safety hazard and reducing toll revenue by $15 million  
          per year as a result of vehicles without plates using toll roads  
          and bridges without payment.

          Electronic toll payment collection systems rely upon a photo of  
          the vehicle's license plate for enforcement.  Without a plate,  
          vehicles are able to use toll lanes and toll bridges without  
          much fear of getting caught.  Because cars are often sold  
          without plates, and it is legal to operate without plates for 90  
          days, transportation agencies are concerned about revenue  






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          losses.  The Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimates  
          that it loses $9 million annually in unpaid tolls, with  
          statewide losses of $15 million.

          This bill was heard in, and passed 10-0, Assembly Transportation  
          Committee on July 7 where the issues related to the creation of  
          these new temporary license plates by DMV were discussed.
          
          3.  Wobbler for Altering, Forging Etcetera a Temporary License  
          Plate

          Existing law makes it a jail wobbler to alter, forge,  
          counterfeit, or falsify a certificate of ownership, registration  
          card, certificate, license, license plate, special plate or  
          permit by a foreign jurisdiction or to alter, forge, counterfeit  
          or falsify the document, device or plate with the intent to  
          represent it as issued by DMV or to alter, forge, counterfeit or  
          falsify with fraudulent intent and endorsement of transfer on a  
          certificate of ownership or other document evidencing ownership,  
          or with fraudulent intent display or cause to be displayed or  
          have in his or her possession a blank, incomplete, canceled,  
          suspended, revoked altered, forged, counterfeit, or false  
          certificate of ownership, registration card, certificate,  
          license, license plate special plate or permit.

          This bill would also make doing any of the following to the  
          temporary license plates created under this bill a jail wobbler.  
           Is this the appropriate penalty?  The concern appears to be  
          that a person will alter the date on a temporary license plate  
          in order to be able to continue using it beyond 90 days.  Is the  
          altering, forging, counterfeiting or falsifying of a temporary  
          license plate the same as altering, forging, counterfeiting or  
          falsifying other DMV documents and thus should have the same  
          penalty or is it somehow distinguishable?

          4.  Cannot Use the Temporary Plates Beyond 90 days
          
          The author and supporters are concerned with people who keep  
          temporary or dealer plates on their cars even after they get  
          their license plates in order to evade tolls.  The thought is  
          that with these new temporary plates it will be easier to  
          determine when the 90 days has run and thus ticket a person who  
          has not installed their license plates.  

          The opposition believes that people who have not received their  
          plates through no fault of their own should not be subject to a  






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          penalty.  The author intends to amend the bill in Committee to  
          clarify that a person will not be held responsible if they  
          notify DMV that they did not receive their license plates before  
          the expiration of the 90 days.

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