Legislators are set to be more involved in the approval of specialty license plates. The Senate has unanimously voted to create a bipartisan committee of legislators to review current and future specialty plates honoring various groups.
Indianapolis Senator Jim Merritt says even though legislators’ recommendations will merely be advisory, they want to be part of the process.
“Obviously, the BMV have difficulty picking and choosing, and the controversy really sprung up on the legislature. And thus, the legislature wanted to have some sort of filter and understanding of how the plates are chosen,” he says.
The move comes after controversy last year over whether an Indianapolis youth support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens was in fact auctioning off low-digit plates to their donors. Some legislators also raised the issue of whether too many specialty plates were being issued in Indiana.
Merritt says there has been disagreement among legislators, with some willing to approve every specialty plate request, and with others wanting to control which groups get plates or abolish them entirely.
“Many legislators have pointed to Maryland as having 800, and disagree with that 100-percent. Many legislators are driving down the highway and can‘t differentiate a specialty plate from another plate,” he says.
Under the Senate’s plan, existing plates would be reviewed by the legislative panel after they’ve been in circulation for 10 years or more to confirm that groups are using money raised by plate sales for one of seven purposes spelled out in the law. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will still have final say in which plates are issued.