State Legislature Adds Additional Specialty License Plates

Jan 31, 2014

The guessing game you can play while driving — what state is that license plate from — could soon get a bit more difficult. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

There are a few standard Arizona license plates. But, there also are close to 60 other specialty plates of various colors and designs. They proliferate because the sponsoring organizations get $17 of each $25 annual fee for their causes, whether that’s Arizona Diamondbacks charities or funding for Northern Arizona University. On Thursday the House Transportation Committee approved six more for causes ranging from professional golfers to equine education. Sierra Vista Fire Chief Randy Redmond promoted yet another plate to pay for training for volunteer firefighters.

“These small departments can’t have enough bake sales and car washes to be able to fund these firefighters to attend school every year. That’s what this is about. And, 100 percent of this money is going to go directly to funding these firefighters’ direct scholarship money to get them to school,” Redmond said.

But, Jen Sweeney Marson, executive director of the Arizona Association of Counties, said her sheriffs oppose the move. She said it’s already hard enough getting witnesses to tell them whether a license plate on a vehicle they’ve seen is from Arizona.

“I appreciate that the special license plate legislation is kind of a feel-good moment. But, I don’t think that feel good should ever trump public safety,” Marson said.

Her objections were largely ignored as the panel approved all the new plates on a 5-1 margin.