California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 2131

Introduced by Assembly Member Maienschein

February 17, 2016

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


AB 2131, as introduced, Maienschein. License plates.

Existing law establishes a specialized license plate program and requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue specialized license plates to a sponsoring state agency that meets certain requirements. Existing law requires that the department charge specified additional fees for the issuance, renewal, or transfer of specialized license plates.

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to the provision establishing a specialized license plate program.

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

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

P1    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.

P2    1(2) The department shall not issue specialized license plates to
2a state agency for a vehicle that is exempt from the payment of
3registration fees pursuant to Section 9101 or 9103.

4(b) Except as provided in subdivision (d), the department shall
5not establish a specialized license plate program for an agency
6until the department has received not less than 7,500 applications
7for that agency’s specialized license plates. The agency shall collect
8 and hold applications for the plates. Once the agency has received
9at least 7,500 applications, it shall submit the applications, along
10with the necessary fees, to the department. The department shall
11not issue a specialized license plate until the agency has received
12and submitted to the department not less than 7,500 applications
13for that particular specialized license plate within the time period
14prescribed in this section. Advance payment to the department by
15the agency representing the department’s estimated or actual
16administrative costs associated with the issuance of a particular
17specialized license plate shall not constitute compliance with this
18requirement. The agency shall have 12 months, following the date
19of approval of the agency’s initial application to sponsor a
20specialized license plate program, to receive the required number
21of applications. If, after that 12 months, 7,500 applications have
22not been received, the agency shall immediately do either of the

24(1) Refund to all applicants all fees or deposits that have been

26(2) Contact the department to indicate the agency’s intent to
27undertake collection of additional applications and fees or deposits
28for an additional period, not to exceed 12 months, in order to obtain
29the minimum 7,500 applications. If the agency elects to exercise
30the option under thisbegin delete subparagraph,end deletebegin insert paragraph,end insert it shall contact
31each applicant who has submitted an application with the
32appropriate fees or deposits to determine if the applicant wishes a
33refund of fees or deposits or requests the continuance of the holding
34of the application and fees or deposits until that time that the
35agency has received 7,500 applications. The agency shall refund
36the fees or deposits to an applicant so requesting. The agency shall
37not collect and hold applications for a period exceeding 24 months
38following the date of approval of the agency’s initial application
39to sponsor a specialized license plate program.

P3    1(c) (1) If the number of outstanding and valid specialized license
2plates in a particular program, except as provided in subdivision
3(d), provided for in this article is less than 7,500, the department
4shall notify the sponsoring agency of that fact and shall inform the
5agency that if that number is less than 7,500 one year from the
6date of that notification, the department will no longer issue or
7replace those specialized license plates.

8(2) Those particular specialized license plates that were issued
9prior to the discontinuation provided by paragraph (1) may continue
10to be used and attached to the vehicle for which they were issued
11and may be renewed, retained, or transferred pursuant to this code.

12(d) (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs may sponsor a Gold
13Star Family specialized license platebegin delete programend deletebegin insert program,end insert and the
14department may establish this specialized license plate program
15in the absence of 7,500 paid applications as provided in subdivision
16(d) of Section 5157.

17(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall, upon receiving
18proof of eligibility from an applicant, authorize the department to
19issue Gold Star Family specialized license plates for a vehicle
20owned by an eligible family member of a member of the Armed
21Forces of the United States who was killed in the line of duty while
22on active duty during wartime service, or during an international
23terrorist attack that has been recognized by the United States
24Secretary of Defense as an attack against the United States or a
25foreign nation friendly to the United States, or during military
26operations while serving outside the United States, including
27commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States,
28or as part of a peacekeeping force, which includes personnel
29assigned to a force engaged in a peacekeeping operation authorized
30by the United Nations Security Council. An eligible family member
31is defined as all of the following:

32(A) A person who is otherwise eligible under this article to
33register a motor vehicle.

34(B) A person who shows proof from the United States
35Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense that
36the member who was in the Armed Forces of the United States
37was killed in the line of duty while on active duty in the military.

38(C) A person who bears, and shows proof satisfactory to the
39Department of Veterans Affairs of, one of the following
P4    1relationships to the member of the Armed Forces killed in the line
2of duty while serving on active duty:

3(i) Widow.

4(ii) Widower.

5(iii) Biological parent.

6(iv) Adoptive parent.

7(v) Stepparent.

8(vi) Foster parent in loco parentis.

9(vii) Biological child.

10(viii) Adoptive child.

11(ix) Stepchild.

12(x) Sibling.

13(xi) Half-sibling.

14(xii) Grandparent.

15(xiii) Grandchild.

16(3) Upon the death of a person issued a Gold Star Family
17specialized license plate, the license plate shall be transferred to
18the surviving spouse, if he or she requests, or shall be returned to
19the department within 60 days after the death of the plateholder
20or upon the expiration of the vehicle registration, whichever occurs

22(e) (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall apply to the
23department to sponsor a veterans specialized license plate program,
24and the department shall issue license plates for that program if
25the Department of Veterans Affairs meets the requirements
26prescribed by this section.

27(2) The design of the veterans specialized license plate shall be
28identical to the design of the veterans special interest license plate
29issued pursuant to Section 5068 on or before January 1, 2010, and
30the decals for the plate shall be identical to those offered pursuant
31to Section 5068.

32(3) Notwithstanding Section 5157, in addition to the regular
33fees for an original registration, a renewal of registration, or a
34transfer of registration, the following fees shall be paid by
35individuals applying for a special interest license plate or a decal
36issued under this subdivision:

37(A) Fifty dollars ($50) for the initial issuance of the plates and
38decals. The plates shall be permanent and shall not be required to
39be replaced.

P5    1(B) Forty dollars ($40) for each renewal of registration that
2includes the continued display of the plates or decals.

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

5(D) Thirty-five dollars ($35) for replacement plates, if they
6become damaged or unserviceable.

7(E) Ten dollars ($10) for replacement decals, if they become
8damaged or unserviceable.

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

11(4) After deducting its administrative costs under this
12subdivision, the department shall deposit the revenue derived from
13the additional fees provided in paragraph (3) in the Veterans
14Service Office Fund created by Section 972.2 of the Military and
15Veterans Code.