INDIANAPOLIS | It turns out a region lawmaker's proposal to overhaul the process for issuing special group license plates isn't so controversial after all.
Soliday was forced last week to postpone action on his proposal to kill an amendment that would have had the effect of permanently barring the Indiana Youth Group, an Indianapolis-based gay rights organization, from ever obtaining a group license plate.
A House committee voted 12-0 Wednesday to send House Bill 1279 to the full chamber. The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, sets new standards for obtaining a group license plate, caps the total number of plates and requires groups with plates disclose their financial records.
"We have wrestled with what we should do in Indiana to make the system fair and transparent — so this is an attempt to do that," Soliday said.
His proposal creates an eight-member Special Group Recognition License Plate Committee made up of two Republicans and two Democrats from both the House and Senate that would would review applications for group plates and advise the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on whether to issue a new plate.
While the BMV would not be required to follow the committee's recommendation, it would be barred from issuing a new plate until the committee weighed in. The total number of group plates would be capped at 150 and no more than five new plates could be issued each year.
Applicants for group plates would have to show that at least 500 Hoosier motorists intend to buy the plate. Groups also would have to submit their organizing documents, three years of financial records and proof the $25 the group receives for each plate sold benefits a general societal need.
In 2012, House conservatives hijacked Soliday's license plate proposal, seeking to revoke the Indiana Youth Group plate. The BMV later canceled the plate citing an administrative rules violation.