Monday, March 26, 2007

3/26 CA Share The Road Update

To date and minute, 7957 signatures have been collected for a petition for the state of California to create a CA "Share the Road" specialized license plate (SLP). Proceeds from the sale of this plate, just like in 11 other states, would be designed to provide for education and other outreach efforts to cyclists and motorists to make California roads safer for everyone.

All efforts now hit a snag when it became known that the California Vehicle Code was amended effective January 1, 2007. A section 5060.1 was added, which reads:

"Notwithstanding Section 5060 or any other provision of law to the contrary, the department shall not accept an application for participation in a special interest license plate program under Section 5060 and shall not issue, under Section 5060, special interest license plates for a new program."

When looking at the original assembly bill:
"The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California [...] permanently enjoined the Director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles from issuing any new special interest license plate to private, nonprofit organizations under the current provisions of Section 5060 of the California Vehicle Code, unless the state establishes "neutral criteria to insure that the (plate) licensing decision is not based on the content or viewpoint of the speech being considered. [...] The bill would establish a new specialized license plate program that would require the issuance of those license plates to have a design or contain a message that publicizes or promotes a state agency, as defined, or the official policy, mission, or work of a state agency."

This means that proceeds would go to the State Treasury and in the end sponsor that very state agency that is being promoted through this SLP. IMO, this defies the whole purpose of a specialized license plate; this bill serves the state and not the people. Considering that there must exist a reason for this amendment, hopes look dim for a Share the Road plate, unless the DMV would step up ... an agency that managed to send me my driver license almost 10 months after I applied for it, and that makes me drive around WITHOUT plates for THREE months. Keep you updated.

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