Thursday, January 29, 2009

License plate fees might be rolled back

In 1997, legislators approved a bill requiring folks to replace their license plates (for most vehicles) every seven years. The argument from the State Patrol was that the reflective coating on license plates deteriorates over time making them hard to read at night.

Sounded reasonable. The problem? Replacing the plates costs vehicle owners about $10. The other problem? If you want to keep the same license plate number, it costs another $20.

Rep. Deb Eddy checked into this after she started receiving a flurry of calls from constituents who are just now being hit with the tab. She found that the costs to vehicle owners just wasn't adding up.

Now, Eddy is co-sponsoring two bills heard in the House Transportation Committee this afternoon. The first eliminates the mandatory replacement rule and reduces the plate replacement fee to $2 (the actual cost of manufacturing the plate). The second bill eliminates the $20 fee for keeping the same plate number.

"I joined Rep. Herrera on this bill because, while there are good reasons, maybe, for these charges,it is the number one complaint that we get about the Department of Licensing," says Eddy. "We lose in goodwill whatever we may gain in luminosity. Rep. Herrera and I are going to be asking for solid evidence to refute or defeat this bill, not just assertions about 'safety'.”