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California Legacy Licence Plates

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California Bill to Create Legacy License Plate Program

Signed Into Law

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation (A.B. 1658) to establish the California Legacy License Plate Program. Under the new law, the DMV will create and issue a series of specialized license plates that replicate plates from the state's past. Previously, classic car owners could only revive well-maintained old plates that match the vintage of their vehicle. Among other things, the new law will bring a retro look to modern license plates by allowing consumers to choose from one of three classic designs from the 1950s-1960s (black lettering on yellow background or yellow lettering on black background) and 1970s-1980s (yellow lettering on blue background). The law requires that at least 7,500 applications for any one particular plate must be received by the DMV on or before January 1, 2015.

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BILL ANALYSIS Ó

AB 1658

Page 1

Date of Hearing: April 9, 2012

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION

Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair

AB 1658 (Gatto) - As Introduced: February 14, 2012

SUBJECT : Specialty license plates

SUMMARY : Establishes a California Legacy License Plate Program.

Specifically, this bill :

1)Requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to establish a

California Legacy License Plate Program and create and issue a

series of specialized license plates known as California

Legacy License Plates that replicate the look of California

license plates from the state's past.

2)Requires the plates' design to be identical to a regular

license plate, except for consisting of one or more of the

following designs:

a) Yellow background with black lettering per the

appearance of California license plates issued by DMV in

the 1950s;

B) Black background with yellow lettering per the

appearance of California license plates issued by DMV in

the 1960s; and,

c) Blue background with yellow lettering per the appearance

of California license plates issued by DMV in the 1980s.

1)Levies for these plates, in addition to the regular fees for

an original registration or renewal of registration, a fee of

$50 for the original issuance of the plates, $40 for

registration renewal, $15 for transfer of the plates to

another vehicle, and $35 for each substitute replacement

plate.

2)Prohibits DMV from issuing a California Legacy License Plates

for a vehicle that is exempt from the payment of registration

fees.

3)Prohibits DMV from establishing the California Legacy License

Plate Program until it has received not less than 2,500 paid

AB 1658

Page 2

applications for plates.

4)Requires DMV to collect and hold applications for the plates

and to issue them after it has received not less than 2,500

paid applications for the particular plates by January 1,

2014. If, after that date, 2,500 paid applications have not

been received, DMV must immediately refund to all applicants

all fees or deposits that have been collected.

5)Makes moneys available, upon appropriation by the Legislature,

to DMV for the necessary administrative costs of establishing

the California Legacy License Plate Program upon determination

by DMV that there are sufficient funds for the program.

6)Requires DMV, after deducting its administrative costs, to

deposit any additional revenue derived from the issuance,

renewal, transfer, and substitution of the specialized license

plates into the California Environmental License Plate Fund,

for appropriation by the Legislature pursuant to existing law.

EXISTING LAW :

1)Allows a state agency to apply to DMV to sponsor a specialized

license plate program that DMV may not establish until it has

received at least 7,500 applications for that agency's

proposed plates. A sponsoring agency is allowed 12 months,

following the date of approval of its initial application to

sponsor a specialized license plate, to receive the required

number of applications.

2)Allows an owner of a vehicle that is a 1969 or older

model-year vehicle or the owner of a commercial vehicle or a

pickup truck that is a 1972 or older model-year to utilize

California license plates from the year corresponding to the

model-year date when the vehicle was manufactured, if the

model-year date license plate is legible and serviceable, as

determined by DMV, in lieu of the license plates that would

otherwise be required.

FISCAL EFFECT : Unknown

COMMENTS : According to the author, this bill is intended to

recreate license plates "that replicate the look of plates from

the state's past. It seeks to mirror the retro trend in the

AB 1658

Page 3

auto industry where companies have produced autos that pay

homage to vehicle designs of the past, as well as companies that

have revived old models that feature modern takes on vintage

designs."

The bill would require DMV, upon receiving at least 2,500 paid

applications, to produce and issue new license plates that allow

consumers to choosing from classic designs from the 1950s/1960s

(black lettering on yellow background or yellow lettering on

black background) and 1970s/1980s (yellow lettering on blue

background).

The author adds, "In addition to giving consumers new options on

what sort of license plate to use on their vehicles, it would

provide classic car collectors a risk-free way to acquire plates

that match the vintage of their vehicles. Currently, classic

car owners can 'revive' old plates that match the vintage of

their vehicle. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous sellers of

these 'vintage' license plates who pass off counterfeit

reproductions as genuine 'vintage' plates. The Legacy License

Plate Series would let collectors an opportunity, if they

choose, to put plates on their vehicles that match the era of

their vehicle without fear of being sold fake plates."

Suggested committee amendments : Establishing a plate program

with only 2,500 applications, especially one that features more

than one plate design, would set a costly precedent. This small

number of applications would not provide a sufficient or

sustainable foundation for a plate program, and would not cover

the DMV's implementation costs. California has long required a

minimum of 7,500 paid applications in order to establish a new

plate. Accordingly, this bill should be amended to reflect that

practice.

Additionally, DMV points out that the manufacturing process for

plates produced during the time period this bill attempts to

replicate was very different than what is currently used by the

Prison Industry Authority (PIA). The plates from the 50's, 60's

and early 70's were made from steel and then dipped in a vat of

paint to apply the color. The current plate manufacturing

process uses reflectorized sheeting which is laminated onto

aluminum plates. Even if solid color sheeting were to be used

in the production process, it would not have the same flat look

and appearance of a painted plate and would violate the

statutory mandate for all plates to be reflectorized. Painted

AB 1658

Page 4

aluminum plates are available but are not reflectorized. The

bill should therefore be amended to clarify that DMV would

produce plates that duplicate vintage plates only to the extent

reasonably possible within current production techniques and

mandated plate characteristics.

Finally, Mr. Jeffries wishes to be listed as a coauthor.

Related legislation : AB 610 (Solorio) would grant the

Veterinary Medical Board an additional 12 months to gather the

required plate 7,500 applications necessary for their

sponsorship of a specialty license plate. That bill is

currently pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION :

Support

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Association of California Car Clubs

Capitol Auto Club Thunderbolts

Opposition

None on file

Analysis Prepared by : Howard Posner / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093

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