BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                    AB 2131

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          Date of Hearing:  April 11, 2016


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair

          AB 2131  
          (Maienschein) - As Amended April 6, 2016

          SUBJECT:  Specialized license plates

          SUMMARY:  Requires the California Department of Food and  
          Agriculture (CDFA) to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles  
          (DMV) to sponsor the "Imagine" specialized license plate  
          program, for the purpose of helping food banks end hunger in  
          California.  Establishes the Imagine Account and specifies that  
          revenues from the account will be allocated by CDFA to a  
          non-profit organization for the purpose of funding local food  
          banks.  Requires the design of the specialized license plate  
          include specific images and messages.

          EXISTING LAW:

          1)Allows any state agency to apply to 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  


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          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  
            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.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  Prior to 2007, any new specialty license plate  
          required specific legislative authorization.  That practice was  
          held to be unconstitutional by the federal courts, as the  
          Legislature approved some plates and rejected others, without  
          using any standardized or objective criteria for those  
          decisions.  In response to the court decision, AB 84 (Leslie), 
          Chapter 454, Statutes of 2006, established the current  
          specialized license plate program to provide a forum for  
          government speech that promotes California's state policies.  AB  
          84 excludes private organizations from seeking specialized  


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          license plates as a forum for private speech, and thus addresses  
          the court's objection.  The current specialized license plate  
          program permits a state agency to initiate the development and  
          sponsorship of a specialized plate, thus no additional  
          legislation is required to authorize the creation of a new  

          Plates created under the current program 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.  This 7,500-application threshold was previously  
          put into statute in an attempt to ensure 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.

          In regards to this bill, the author intends to provide support  
          and revenue to California's emergency food safety net without  
          taking resource from the General Fund.  According to the  
          California Association of Food Banks, the sponsor of this bill,  
          more than 5 million Californians, including 1 in 4 children,  
          face food insecurity every day and many of these individuals  
          rely on the services of food banks for access to nutrition.  The  
          author argues that the revenue generated from this specialized  
          license plate program will be instrumental in funding California  
          food banks to reach the goal of ending hunger in California.   
          This bill would dedicate the revenues from this specialized  
          license plate program to qualifying local food banks through a  
          program administered by CDFA in conjunction with a non-profit  

          This bill specifies the design of the Imagine plate to include  
          the likeness of John Lennon, a founding member of The Beatles,  
          characterized by the bill's proponents as the most commercially  
          successful band in the history of popular music.  Florida  
          enacted a well-received specialty license plate bearing the same  


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          theme in 2004.

          Double referral: This bill will be referred to the Assembly  
          Agriculture Committee should it pass out of this committee.

          Related legislation: Currently there are five other bills in the  
          legislative process that would direct a state agency to sponsor  
          a specialized license plate for a specific cause.  Three bills,  
          AB 63 (Bonilla) to raise money for school safety, AB 270  
          (Nazarian) to raise money for diabetes awareness, and AB 932  
          (Daly) to raise money for local parks and recreation grant  
          programs passed out of this Committee with no 'No' votes and are  
          currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  AB 1884  
          (Harper) to raise money for mental health awareness was passed  
          by this Committee on March 14 and is currently in the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee.  AB 2303 (Holden) would raise money  
          for the Active Transportation Program and is scheduled to be  
          heard by this committee on April 11, 2016.

          AB 2253 (Grove) would require DMV to design and issue a special  
          interest license plate in consultation with In God We Trust -  
          America, Inc.  AB 2253 is scheduled to be heard by this  
          committee on April 11, 2016.

          Previous legislation:  Since 2011, 12 bills have been introduced  
          directing a state agency to sponsor a specialized license plate  
          for a variety of causes.  Since 2014, four were passed by the  
          Legislature and signed by the Governor.  These bills would raise  
          funds for Salton Sea restoration [AB 1096 (Nestande), Chapter  
          353, Statutes of 2014], kidney disease research [AB 2450  
          (Logue), Chapter 359, Statutes of 2014], breast cancer awareness  
          [AB 49 (Buchanan), Chapter 351, Statutes of 2014], and domestic  
          violence prevention [AB 2321 (Gomez), Chapter 358, Statutes of  
          2014].  None have yet gathered the necessary number of  
          applications to enter production.



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          Alameda County Community Food Bank

          California Association of Food Banks

          California Food Policy Advocates

          Community Action Agency of Butte County, Inc.

          Community Food Bank

          Feeding America San Diego

          FIND Food Bank

          Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County

          Food Bank of El Dorado County

          Food Bank for Monterey County

          Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

          Food for People, the Food Bank for Humboldt County


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          FoodLink for Tulare County

          Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank

          Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

          OC Food Bank

          Redwood Empire Food Bank

          Resource Connection Food Bank

          Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

          Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

          SF-Marin Food Bank

          Shasta Senior Nutrition Food Bank

          Westside Food Bank

          Yolo Food Bank


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          None on file

          Analysis Prepared by:Justin Behrens / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093