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Bill limiting Indiana specialty auto plates advances

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The state lawmaker trying to overhaul Indiana's specialty auto license plate system said Wednesday he believed a compromise has been reached on changes.

The next test for the proposal will come before the full Indiana House after the House transportation committee voted 12-0 in favor of the bill Wednesday following a brief hearing during which no one spoke against it.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, would create an eight-member bipartisan panel to review requests from not-for-profit groups and universities for specialty fundraising plates. It would set new requirements for the groups to submit reports how they are spending their share of the money from the license plates and sell at least 500 plates a year.

The new panel could recommend up to new five plates a year, with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles allowed to have a maximum of 150 specialty plates. A legislative report shows that 17 of the 92 specialty plates sold during the past two years fell short of selling the proposed minimum 500 plates a year.

"I'm hoping that we have tried to address people's concerns," Soliday said. "We didn't take any plates away from anyone who wanted one. We give a path for those who want plates in the future that should be the same for everybody."

Another new requirement included in the bill would allow the BMV to revoke the plate of any group found to have advocated or committed a violation of state or federal law.

Soliday led an effort last year to limit specialty plates, but he dropped the bill after controversy erupted over the push by some legislators to revoke plates issued by the Indiana Youth Group. The group, which counsels gay youths, became a lightning rod for social conservatives who accused it of promoting underage sex. The group has vehemently denied those accusations.

The BMV later pulled the youth group's plate after determining in a review prompted by some Republican senators that the organization and two others broke their contracts with the state by auctioning low-numbered plates.

Groups with the specialty plates receive $25 of the additional $40 fee charged by the BMV for those auto tags. Those groups say the program is a valuable fundraiser and improves their public visibility.

Gina Leckron, Habitat for Humanity's state director, said the some 600 plates the group sold last year helped it respond to emergency situations such as last year's deadly tornado that hit the southern Indiana town of Henryville and the surrounding area.

"When the tornado hit Henryville, we used that money as really seed money to go down and do the evaluation and begin to mobilize resources," she said.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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