AB 84 (Leslie) License Plate scheduled for hearing Tuesday June 20 – letters of support urgently needed.

Sacramento, CA —

AB 84, proposing a new program in the Department of Motor Vehicles that would allow state agencies such as the new Sierra Nevada Conservancy to sponsor specialty license plates, has been scheduled for hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday June 20, 2006. This bill, introduced in 2005 by Assemblymembers Tim Leslie and John Laird, has already passed the Assembly, and must now pass the Senate Transportation Committee by June 30 in order to remain under consideration.

In August 2005 the bill was first taken before the Senate Transportation Committee where it failed to gain enough votes to pass, in part based on concerns raised by Department of Motor Vehicles. Amendments to address their concerns have now been made to the bill, including:

1. Deleting the provision that non-profit organizations may be hired by the state agency to run a license plate program;

2. Prohibiting state agencies from purchasing specialty license plates for exempt vehicles;

3. Deleting local agencies from eligibility for a license plate; and

4. Removing the urgency clause (including a specific reference to the Sierra Conservancy).

Letters supporting passage of AB 84 are urgently needed. Following this article is a sample letter of support. It is most polite to address the letter to the legislator directly. Fax or mail the letter to the two following offices (email is NOT acceptable):

Assemblyman Tim Leslie
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax # (916) 319-2104

Senator Alan Lowenthal
Chair, Senate Transportation Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax # (916) 445-2209

Approval of new specialty license plates such as the ones already in existence for the Tahoe Conservancy, Coastal Conservancy and Yosemite Fund, was suspended in early 2004 by an order of the California State Supreme Court. The court stopped issuance of any new specialty license plates until the Legislature created a more constitutionally correct and clear set of guidelines. This bill creates an appropriate remedy for this problem.

Sample letter of support for AB 84

Senator Lowenthal
Assemblymember Leslie
State CapitolSacramento, CA 95814

Re: Support AB 84 as amended

Dear Senator or Assemblymember,

We, the _____________ are writing to endorse AB 84 (Leslie/Laird) establishing a specialty license plate program that can be used to create license plates to provide funding for important state agencies such as the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Other state Conservancies have relied upon the sale of license plates for funds, but recent court action has effectively closed this opportunity to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, as well as all other state programs. This legislation re-opens that door.

As amended the bill:

1. Allows only state agencies to be eligible to apply for specialty license plates;

2. Requires the agency to recruit 7,500 reservations for a plate before one can be issued;

3. Includes design requirements include a white-reflectorized background, no full-color plates;

4. Prohibits state agencies from purchasing specialty license plates for exempt vehicles; and

5. Deletes the reference to public or nonprofit agencies assisting the state agency in promoting the plate.

Passage of this bill is important to our organization. (Our mission includes _____________, which makes finding opportunities to fund the Sierra Nevada Conservancy an important priority to us.) Feel free to call if you have any questions about our position.


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