Sluggish sales may force end to some group license plates

2013-07-30T18:00:00Z 2013-07-30T20:17:18Z Sluggish sales may force end to some group license platesDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
July 30, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | At least 25 of the 92 groups represented on specialty Indiana license plates are set to lose their plates in 2015 if they remain unable to sell at least 500 new or renewal plates each year.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles soon will send warning letters to groups whose plate sales fall short of the minimum required by a new law, sponsored by state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso.

Under the law, groups that don't sell 500 plates in 2013 will have one year to bring their plate sales up to 500, or their plates will be discontinued in 2015. Groups that lose their plates can reapply by submitting promises to buy the plate from 500 vehicle owners and meeting other conditions.

Hoosier motorists will be allowed to renew any discontinued plates until their vehicle's license plate is 5 years old and is then required by state law to be replaced, according to the BMV.

Most of the groups failing to meet the minimum sales requirement are small colleges and universities including Bethel, Earlham, Franklin, Grace, Huntington, Marian, St. Mary of the Woods, St. Mary's, Taylor, Trine and Vincennes.

Other organizations falling short are the Blood Center, Chiefs of Police Foundation, Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Diabetes Association, Motor Truck Association, Indiana University Health, Lewis and Clark Heritage, Rotary Club and the Teamsters Trust.

Soliday said many of those groups got their plates through special state laws that enabled the groups to bypass BMV requirements for specialty license plates.

He said the new specialty license plate approval process, which requires review and a nonbinding recommendation by the General Assembly's Special Group Recognition License Plate Committee, will ensure all groups are treated equally.

"This, quite frankly, is designed to be more efficient and more fair than what was done in the past," Soliday said.

The eight-member committee, which met for the first time Tuesday, also is tasked with determining whether groups that have had their license plates more than 10 years are spending the $25 the group receives for each plate sold in accordance with the new law.

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