Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Colorado / Capitol Watch Update: Taxi plates likely on the way

Photo from Hydroponics Online
April 6 Update: This bill has passed through committee hearings and is now on the floor of the Senate, awaiting readings and a vote.

Following this year's launch of a new Livery plate for limousines, Colorado HB11-1234 looks set to create a new license plate for taxi cabs. At present, the bill has passed the House and is working through committee review in the Senate. If approved, the plates would begin reaching Colorado roads by January of 2012.

The bill specifies that the plate will consist of black letters on a yellow background, with the word "TAXICAB" along the bottom. (It will be interesting to see how the DMV decides to interpret the use of yellow as a color scheme, given the monochromatic design of the new Livery plate.)

The bill as currently written also makes the point that, unless the operator is licensed by the PUC strictly as a limousine service, vehicles serving as both luxury limousines and taxis (I'm guessing this applies to things like Town Car service) will default to the new Taxicab plate.

As you can see by the photo above, this isn't the first time that Taxi plates have appeared in Colorado - however, there's never been a statewide issue. Denver issued plates to taxis for many years as a supplement to standard passenger plates.

Colorado / Capitol Watch: Craig Hospital plate stalls in House

Mock-up image found via Jared King's blog.
A bill proposing the creation of a license plate for the non-profit Craig Hospital in Englewood appears to have hit a stumbling block. SB11-003, sponsored by Senator Nancy Spence (R-Centennial), passed on the Senate floor but has recently been indefinitely postponed by the House Appropriations Committee.

As currently proposed, the plate would be offered for the usual $50 worth of fees to the DMV plus a required one-time $20 donation to Craig Hospital. There has been some contention in committee hearings that, with such a small donation requirement, the plate's primary purpose may end up being more in the way of marketing than fundraising. Indeed, committee testimony from Craig's representative admits that the plate would be one of many fundraisers already undertaken by the hospital, and that all funds raised by the plate would go into their Patient Assistance Fund.

Craig Hospital is a non-profit organization devoted exclusively to the care and rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord and brain injuries, and has been active in this field since 1955 after previously serving (from as early as 1907) as a care center for tuberculosis patients.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Colorado / Capitol Watch Update: New specialty plate numbers would benefit disability assistance programs

Photo from PorcelainPlates.net.
April 4 Update: This bill has moved to the full Senate for approval and, possibly, final passage. Stay tuned!

A bill proposing an innovative and interesting effort to benefit disability assistance programs has passed the Colorado House and is now on its way through a committee review in the Senate.

HB11-1216, titled the "Laura Hershey Disability-Benefit Support Act" in honor of the late disability rights activist, would set up a new seven-member state committee to allocate funds to non-profit groups for the purpose of benefiting people with disabilities.

And where would the funds come from? The bill also intends to create a new license plate number auction system dealing in "desirable" numbers. The committee would "study the market" and determine which numbers might be the most valuable, then submit an inquiry to the Division of Motor Vehicles as to whether these numbers would be valid for use with the current registration system. Pending approval by the DMV, the new crop of "desirable" numbers would be auctioned on a specific web site to the highest bidder. The state would receive a 25-percent royalty on the final sale price, with the remainder going to the disability fund.

The yearly proceeds would then be split as follows:
  • First, any amount up to $1.5 million to the new disability assistance fund
  • Second, any additional funds up to $2.5 million to Colorado's General Fund
  • Third, any remaining funds to the disability assistance fund
These amounts will be adjusted annually by the State Treasurer to account for inflation as well.

Interestingly, the bill as currently written allows for the use of "privately obtained replica plates" to be used, so long as they meet the standards of the department. I'm not sure what exactly that entails; there are a number of companies that sell "replica" versions of old plates, none of which are specifically regarded as "legal" by the state. I think the idea is that the number is the important thing - so long as the validation stickers are current and the number matches the car it's supposed to be attached to, everything is kosher. (And if that's the precedent we're about to set, I think the market for old Colorado license plates is about to become very interesting.)

Assuming the bill passes, this sounds like a very positive and useful development. My only question is, what numbers would count as desirable? I have some suggestions, of course.

More analysis after the jump...

Colorado / Capitol Watch Update: Girl Scouts plate moves to the Senate floor

Image by Girl Scouts Colorado
April 5 Update: The Girl Scouts plate has now moved to the Senate floor, having passed its initial committee hearings in both Transportation and Appropriations. Good work!

We've been following the progress of Colorado's proposed Girl Scouts license plate (Colorado SB11-197) for some time now, and the news just keeps getting better.

Five Girl Scouts testified in front of the Senate Transportation Committee on March 22, relating their positive experiences in Scouting and their support for the proposed plate. And hey, there's even video...



With five testimonials, 3,102 petitioned signatures and a solid design proposal, SB11-197 passed through the Senate Transportation Committee with no amendments. Next stop: Senate Appropriations. Congrats, girls!

Some data and the video for this post came from Girl Scouts Colorado.

Colorado / Capitol Watch: World War II Veteran plate bill very near passage by House

A gaping hole in Colorado's license plate offerings for veterans may soon be filled.

SB11-037, sponsored by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), would create a license plate for veterans who can provide proof of enlistment in the United States Armed Services at any point between September 16, 1940 and July 25, 1947. At present, the bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting final approval by the House.

An amendment has been added since the bill's origination to ensure that these plates are offered at no charge for the first set (as with most such military plates in Colorado, the standard registration fees would most likely apply to any additional sets ordered by the applicant).

Like many other states, Colorado has for many years offered a plate to commemorate surviving veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but has not yet offered a plate for the vast majority of WW2 veterans.