INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's yearlong moratorium on requests for new
specialty license plates will end Thursday when the Bureau of Motor
Vehicles posts new application forms online for the state's revamped
specialty plate program, state officials told a legislative panel
BMV general counsel Elizabeth Murphy told members of a fledgling
legislative committee that will review those applications that
applications for specialty plates must be submitted by April 1, 2014.
The first new specialty plates won't be issued until January 2015.
State lawmakers this year overhauled Indiana's specialty license plate
system following a controversy over plates issued to the Indiana Youth
Group, a support group for gay teenagers. The state said the group
violated its contract by issuing low-numbered plates to donors and
volunteers and canceled the plates, along with those of two other
groups, last year.
The youth group sued the BMV in June after the agency declined to follow
an administrative judge's request that it reinstate the group's plate.
Indiana's revised program includes a requirement that all groups with
specialty plates sell at least 500 plates a year.
Murphy gave the committee a list of about 90 of the state's 103
specialty plates. More than a dozen of the groups listed had sold less
than 200 plates through the first six months of 2013.
Any group that doesn't sell at least 500 plates by Dec. 31 will be
placed on probation, she said. Groups that can't sell at least 500
plates in 2014 will have their plates revoked.
Murphy said all Indiana groups that have had specialty license plates
for the past 10 years must submit new applications for plates by next
April. Colleges and veterans groups with plates are exempt from that
BMV Commissioner Scott Waddell told the committee that the new plate
program and the panel's advisory role should aid nonprofit groups and
others entities seeking the plates.
"Hopefully it will add some clarification to the process. I think it
will benefit everybody in the long run," he said.
Motorists pay an additional $40 for the special plates, with $25 going
to the organization and its cause and $15 to the BMV.
Indiana's new specialty plate law created the eight-member specialty
plate committee, which includes four Republican and four Democratic
The panel will review each application and scrutinize the groups'
financial statements before making recommendations to the BMV about
whether it should approve the request. The BMV will have the final say
on each application.
State Rep. Ed Soliday, who sponsored this year's legislation, said he
wants to ensure that at least 75 percent of the money nonprofit groups
raise through license plate sales goes to the cause they're raising
"I think pretty strongly that legitimate not-for-profits are transparent
and the money goes where they say it's going — not to have some
president of the entity driving a BMW. If they say they're feeding kids,
the money should be going to feed kids," said Soliday, R-Valparaiso.
The committee's chairman, state Sen. Tom Wyss, said the panel will meet
again this fall to ensure its members understand how to review each
"We're trying to make sure that we treat each and every group fairly
that meets our criteria," Wyss said.