With budget running late, Senate OKs new speciality license plates

florida license plates
Specialty plate options poised to expand.

Dozens of new license plates may be coming to Florida vehicles if the House and Senate refine legislation in time.

Though the budget is going to be delayed by days, and the talk in the Capitol has been coronavirus, the fate of speciality plates drove legislative debate in the waning hours of the Session.

The House moved HB 1135 by a 78-40 vote, but the bill bogged down in Senate discussion Wednesday over what plates merit inclusion.

On Thursday, the bill moved from the Senate unanimously, albeit with an amendment that will kick it back to the House.

Per bill analysis, the legislation would set a cap of 125 specialty license plates and provides a process for the discontinuation of low performing specialty license plates and the addition of new specialty license plates.

It would also compel DHSMV to issue specialty license plates for fleet and motor vehicle dealer vehicles.

The bill also creates 19 new specialty license plates and specifies the design of the plate and the distribution of the associated annual use fees.

As well, it contains provisions regarding existing specialty license plates and repeals specified discontinued specialty license plates.

Among the contemplated plates: Special Olympics; Florida Golf; the “Live the Dream” license plate, and a “In God We Trust” tag. Also available: a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag motif.

Fallen Law Enforcement officer plates are in play, as is a “Beat Childhood Cancer” and a “Donate Life” tag.

An Auburn University plate, a favorite of House sponsor Rep. Jamie Grant, is in. As is a University of Georgia tag. And also on the sporting tip, plates for Dan Marino and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Also contemplated: a Ducks Unlimited plate, a hat tip to former Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam‘s current sinecure.

Beekeepers and rotarians also have a tag of choice, as do “Medical Professionals Who Care.”

Additionally, the Highwaymen are honored: “a group of 26 African-American artists [who] used vivid and bright colors to display the beautiful untouched Florida landscape.”

But Senators thought the bill could go farther.

Sen. Perry Thurston introduced an amendment to recognize the “Divine Nine,” national African-American majority fraternities and sororities, both collectively and separately.

Sen. Joe Gruters wanted a “Knights of Columbus” plate, but pulled the amendment.

Plates must have 3,000 presales in two years, except for out of state college plates, which have a 4,000 vote threshold.

Underperforming plates will be put on notice and terminated, Bean said.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


2 comments

  • martin

    March 12, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    this is what our dysfunctional legislature considers important. I think we would be better off if they simply disbanded for good.

    • Truth

      March 12, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      Florida Bill Eliminates the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Specialty License Plate

      In 2004, Florida became the first state in the nation to have a specialty license plate that bears the image of Dr Martin Luther King Jr , and in 2020 will become the first state in the nation to do away with it. While there are already more than 120, the 2020 Florida legislature is on the verge of passing a bill that creates more specialty license plates…to include a Florida plate for out of state Auburn University, the alma mater of the house bill sponsor, one for the University of Alabama, University of Georgia and even one with the name Walt Disney World on it to name a few.  Many license plates are overseen by non-profits that are (in some cases) affiliated with State Universities, a large research institution, a state agency, a large business entity …or large well-funded nonprofits.  The Dream Foundation, which oversees the “Live The Dream” license plate has no such relationships. It is a small organization that relies on the allowed proceeds from the plate to administer its program and market it.  Florida HB 1135 and Senate SB 412,   adds more license plates that the “Live The Dream” plate has to compete with to avoid elimination, while not allowing it the proceeds to manage its program or market its plates, treating it differently than the others.

       Except for Ducks unlimited, new specialty plates being created by the bill caps the marketing allowance at 10 percent for all newly proposed plates below (and also existing plates):

      Margaritaville License Plate

      Johnson and Wales University License Plate

      Walt Disney World License Plate

      Dan Marino campus License Plate

      University of Alabama License Plate (not a Florida school)

      Beat Childhood cancer License Plate

       Rotary License Plate

      Give Kids the World License Plate

      Florida native License Plate

       Auburn University License Plate (not a Florida school)

      Explore Off Road Florida License Plate

      K9s United License Plate

      Solar Power License Plate

      Gadsden Flag License Plate ( not related to Gadsden County Florida)

      Daughters of the American Revolution

      Knights of Columbus License Plate

      Jumbo Shrimp License Plate

      Ethical Ecotourism License Plate

      Guardian Ad Litem License Plate

      University of Georgia License Plate (not a Florida school)

      Medical professionals Who Care License Plate

      Orlando City Soccer License Plate

      Coastal Conservation Association License Plate

      Bonefish and Tarpon Trust License Plate

      Florida bay Forever License Plate

      Donate Life Florida License Plate

      Florida State Beekeepers Association License Plate

      Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation License Plate

      As pointed out, the bill takes on a one size fit all approach that caps dollars allowed for marketing and administrative fees at 10 percent. However, for The Dream Foundation, the only African American license plate and only small black organization, the bill caps its administrative and marketing fees to 5 percent. Even Disney has 10 percent. Further, while stripping away two of its sub recipients the March of Dimes and Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, the bill does not allow The Dream Foundation,  the right and independence of any mission driven private nonprofit to replace those entities with organizations of its choice that furthers its mission. It has asked to add,  One Church One Child. a faith based nonprofit that focuses solely on adoption for black children to find loving homes and Tallahassee Indaba CARES, a youth mentoring program .. and/or The Dream Foundation’s “Dream Reentering Citizens Fund”, an internal program that helps register voters with felony records. If the bill passes, citizens from around the state who purchases the plate will be providing proceeds to only the two remaining organizations, both worthy… one a homeless coalition that is exclusively in Miami Dade County called Chapman Partners,  and the more statewide focused Florida The Sickle Cell Association of Florida.  The Dream Foundations mission is to have Dr Kings legacy felt statewide, which is stymied when the Foundation is not allowed to determine where its program dollars go in service to the black community.  

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