Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

February 2, 2013

STATEHOUSE: Indiana specialty plates reviewed

INDIANAPOLIS — Specialty license plates raise millions of dollars for universities and non-profits in Indiana, but they’re also prompting debate about what kind of controls the state should exert over them.

Legislation that came from a summer study committee on the issue would cap the number of organizations that could get the state-issued plates, eliminate some that currently have them, and compel groups that want one to reveal more about how they’re spending their money.

It would also create an eight-member bipartisan commission to review future plate requests, taking away some of the control that the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles now has.

The bill’s author, Republican state Rep. Ed Soliday of Valparaiso, said his intent is to bring more order and fairness — and less controversy — to what he called a “helter-skelter” system.

Soliday, chairman of the House roads and transportation committee, took on the task of writing new rules for the specialty plates after controversy erupted last year.

During the 2012 session, some conservative members of the Indiana General Assembly tried to eliminate a specialty plate that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles issued for the Indiana Youth Group, which supports gay youth. The IYG and the American Civil Liberties had gone to court in 2010 to get the plate, after the BMV initially denied the IYG’s request.

The push by legislators to kill the plate failed. But the BMV later stripped the group of its plate and pulled the plates of two other organizations, saying they wrongly traded low-digit plates for contributions. Those groups contended the practice is common and threatened to sue.

Soliday said the controversy showed the need for the legislature to take another look at the how the state’s specialty license plates are issued.

“We’re trying to have a bill that’s fair, that gives everybody a chance, and that will stand up to judicial review,” Soliday said. Co-authors of House Bill 1129 are state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany and state Rep. Jud McMillin of Brookville, both Republicans.

Indiana has been issuing specialty license plates since 1992 as a vehicle to raise money for non-profits. About half-million Hoosiers bought state-issued specialty license plates last year, paying an extra fee of $40 beyond what it cost to license their vehicles.

They had more than 90 plates from which to choose, benefiting organizations ranging from the Indiana Bicycle Coalition to the National Rifle Association.

Purdue University and Indiana University were among the top organizations to benefit from the plates. Nearly 100,000 motorists bought specialty plates bearing either the IU or Purdue logo.

Under Soliday’s bill, any state university or college with a specialty plate would have to direct the dollars made off the plates into a scholarship fund for Indiana residents only.

Soliday wants to cap the number of organizations that could qualify for the plates, at 150. He said police organizations support the idea, “because the roads are so crowded with so many different plates. There’s a limit on how many plates they can identify.”

He also wants to eliminate some of the organizations that currently have plates, if their plate sales fall to less than 500 plates a year. That could pose a problem for an organization like the Indiana Chiefs of Police Foundation, which saw only 101 plates sold last year.

His legislation would also require more financial disclosures from the organizations applying for the plates, and require those organizations to have an outside board of directors.

The bill hit a temporary roadblock on Wednesday when Soliday delayed committee action on the bill after another lawmaker proposed amending the legislation to permanently prohibit any group that had their license plate revoked from ever applying for a new plate. That would have included the Indiana Youth Group.

Soliday’s bill is expected to be heard in the House roads and transportation committee next week.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers