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Indiana BMV
File - Greenways Foundation specialty license plate
General Assembly

Specialty plate changes law

– Gov. Mike Pence signed one bill into law Monday that will more closely monitor specialty group license plates.

House Bill 1279 sets up a bipartisan panel of lawmakers to review plate requests. That group will give advisory recommendations to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on whether a plate should be issued. The BMV can issue a plate even if the group has a negative recommendation.

But the agency can’t issue a special group license plate unless the plate has been reviewed and has been given a positive or negative recommendation. That means if the panel should tie on a vote, or never acts, the application is rejected.

Indiana has more than 100 specialty group plates the BMV offers to Hoosiers. An administrative fee goes to the state; nonprofits use the rest of the money to buttress their finances.

But legislators last year were upset over the issuance of a plate to a gay youth group – triggering legislative involvement in the system.

Groups must state clearly how the money raised will be used. And entities must fit one of several categories to apply – direct health care or medical research; fraternal or service organizations; government; military and veterans’ affairs; public and transportation safety; universities using money for scholarships; agriculture, animals and environment.

Most of the legislation is effective immediately.

Pence chose not to sign House Bill 1070 – allowing it to become law instead without his signature. The measure allows Cloverdale and Fishers to implement a food and beverage tax.

Press Secretary Kara Brooks said “While Governor Pence supports the local control provided by the bill, he is not inclined to endorse this legislation that allows for a tax increase.”