(AP) - The state lawmaker trying to overhaul Indiana’s specialty auto
license plate system said Wednesday he believed a compromise has been
reached on changes after a similar push last year was derailed by social
conservatives who tried to revoke the plate issued to a gay youth advocacy
The next test
for the proposal will come before the full Indiana House after the House
transportation committee voted 12-0 in favor of the bill Wednesday following
a brief hearing during which no one spoke against it.
sponsored by Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, would create an eight-member
bipartisan panel to review requests from nonprofit groups and universities
for specialty fundraising plates. It would set new requirements for the
groups to submit reports how they are spending their share of the money from
the license plates and sell at least 500 plates a year.
The new panel
could recommend up to new five plates a year, with the Bureau of Motor
Vehicles allowed to have a maximum of 150 specialty plates. A legislative
report shows that 17 of the 92 specialty plates sold during the past two
years fell short of selling the proposed minimum 500 plates a year.
“I’m hoping that
we have tried to address people’s concerns,” Soliday said. “We didn’t take
any plates away from anyone who wanted one. We give a path for those who
want plates in the future that should be the same for everybody.”
requirement included in the bill would allow the BMV to revoke the plate of
any group found to have advocated or committed a violation of state or
Soliday led an
effort last year to limit specialty plates, but he dropped the bill after
controversy erupted over the push by some legislators to revoke plates
issued by the Indiana Youth Group. The group, which counsels gay youths,
became a lightning rod for social conservatives who accused it of promoting
underage sex. The group has vehemently denied those accusations.
The BMV later
pulled the youth group’s plate after determining in a review prompted by
some Republican senators that the organization and two others broke their
contracts with the state by auctioning low-numbered plates.
Groups with the
specialty plates receive $25 of the additional $40 fee charged by the BMV
for those auto tags. Those groups say the program is a valuable fundraiser
and improves their public visibility.
Habitat for Humanity’s state director, said the some 600 plates the group
sold last year helped it respond to emergency situations such as last year’s
deadly tornado that hit the southern Indiana town of Henryville and the
tornado hit Henryville, we used that money as really seed money to go down
and do the evaluation and begin to mobilize resources,” she said.