Pharos-Tribune

Local News

February 3, 2013

Specialty license plates could be capped under proposed laws

Plates raise millions for non-profits, but legislators debate the control the state should have.

INDIANAPOLIS — Specialty license plates raise millions of dollars for universities and non-profits in Indiana, but they’re also prompting debate about what kind of controls the state should exert over them.

Legislation that came out a summer study committee on the issue would cap the number of organizations that could get the state-issued plates, eliminate some that currently have them, and compel groups that want one to reveal more about how they’re spending their money.

It would also create an eight-member bipartisan commission to review future plate requests, taking away some of the control that the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles now has.

The bill’s author, Republican state Rep. Ed Soliday of Valpraiso, said his intent is to bring more order and fairness — and less controversy — to what he called a “helter-skelter” system.

Soliday, chairman of the House roads and transportation committee, took on the task of writing new rules for the specialty plates after controversy erupted last year.

During the 2012 session, some conservative members of the Indiana General Assembly tried to eliminate a specialty plate that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued for the Indiana Youth Group, which supports gay youth. The IYG and the American Civil Liberties had gone to court in 2010 to get the plate, after the BMV initially denied the IYG’s request.

The push by legislators to kill the plate failed. But the BMV later stripped the group of its plate and pulled the plates of two other organizations, saying they wrongly traded low-digit plates for contributions. Those groups contended the practice is common and threatened to sue.

Soliday said the controversy showed the need for the legislature to take another look at how the state’s specialty license plates are issued.

“We’re trying to have a bill that’s fair, that gives everybody a chance, and that will stand up to judicial review,” Soliday said. Co-authors of House Bill 1129 are state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany and state Rep. Jud McMillin of Brookville, both Republicans.

Indiana has been issuing specialty license plates since 1992 as a vehicle to raise money for non-profits. About a half-million Hoosiers bought state-issued specialty license plates last year, paying an extra fee of $40 beyond what it cost to license their vehicles.

They had more than 90 plates from which to choose, benefitting organizations ranging from the Indiana Bicycle Coalition to the National Rifle Association.

Purdue University and Indiana University were among the top organizations to benefit from the plates; nearly 100,000 motorists bought specialty plates bearing either the IU or Purdue logo.

Under Soliday’s bill, any state university or college with a specialty plate would have to direct the dollars made off the plates into a scholarship fund for Indiana residents only.

Soliday wants to cap the number of organizations that could qualify for the plates, at 150. He said police organizations support the idea, “because the roads are so crowded with so many different plates. There’s a limit on how many plates they can identify.”  

He also wants to eliminate some of the organizations that currently have plates, if their plate sales fall to less than 500 plates a year.  That could pose a problem for an organization like the Indiana Chiefs of Police Foundation, which saw only 101 plates sold last year.

His legislation would also require more financial disclosures from the organizations applying for the plates, and require those organizations to have an outside board of directors.

The bill hit a temporary roadblock Wednesday. Soliday delayed committee action on the bill after another lawmaker proposed amending the legislation to permanently prohibit any group that had their license plate revoked from ever applying for a new plate. That would have included the Indiana Youth Group.

Soliday said the amendment precluded any appeals process. “It would have meant that once you’ve been rejected, you can never have another plate. That’s not the way we work in America.”

Soliday’s bill is expected to be heard in the House roads and transportation committee this week.

To enjoy home delivery

of the Pharos-Tribune

CLICK HERE »

For a Pharos-Tribune

eEdition Subscription

CLICK HERE »

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • UPDATED: Logansport HS teacher arrested on child seduction charge

    A Logansport High School teacher was arrested Thursday on a charge of child seduction.

    April 18, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 18, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041814 LC50 cords.jpg 50 years later WALTON -- Dean "D.A." Zehring graduated from the current Lewis Cass High School, but he never attended classes there. It's one of the unique characteristics of the graduating class of 1968, the first class to complete all four years of high school un

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Caston considers Logan bus stop FULTON -- Caston Schools administrators are considering establishing a bus stop a few miles outside its boundaries on the north side of Logansport. The school board recently discussed the feasibility of adding a bus stop for students transferring fro

    April 18, 2014

  • mushroom Parks let mushroom hunters forage off-trail INDIANAPOLIS - Rain that pounded Brown County State Park in early April dampened the number of hikers and mountain bikers in Indiana's largest state park, but foragers of the property's 15,000 acres of forest welcomed the weather. With the arrival o

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police blotter: April 17, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 G.jpg Sign of support: Class meant to connect hearing-impaired family members Jordanna Dishner-Rush gestured forcefully to a coat rack hanging in the back of the meeting room at the Logansport Library. She was trying to use just hand motions — no speech — to get the other women to guess the secret word she'd been given. Dishne

    April 17, 2014 12 Photos

  • Logansport graduation rate rises again Logansport High School's graduation rate jumped almost 2 percentage points to 92.9 percent in 2013, data released Wednesday show. The Indiana Department of Education released graduation data for the 2012-2013 school year Wednesday. The data show that

    April 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT041714 Mustangs.jpg Local dealer celebrates the Mustang Fifty years ago today, the Ford Mustang was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair. Now, six of them will be on display for the next few weeks at Rick's Auto Sales in Logansport celebrating what the business owner says is a half centur

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Redevelopment commission proposes new TIF expansion The Logansport Redevelopment Commission is now considering including land surrounding Water Street in a proposed consolidation of the city's tax increment financing districts. A tax increment financing, or TIF, district, captures the increments of an

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
eEdition