Arizona Specialty License Plates

Bicycle Colorado’s “Share the Road” plate

Arizona currently has a mechanism for groups to sponsor and fundraise by ‘selling’ specialty plates to motorist who pay “an extra fee, $25 above the basic cost for a plate. The state keeps $8 for administrative costs and passes along the other $17 to sponsoring charities”. This is a per year fee.

A number of states already have such plates, e.g. Bicycle Colorado. Here’s a roundup of a number of such plates around the US.

The Arizona sponsoring charity must do these things:

  • Get a legislator to introduce legislation, and get the legislation to pass both houses and signed by governor. See below for example.
  • Pay a non-recurring setup fee to the State of $32,000 [this amount isn’t fixed by law, but it has become the standard rate]
  • Design a plate (cost?) and then get the state to approve the design and color scheme.

Remember, the fee recurs yearly unless the motorist doesn’t renew, so it’s not necessary to sell 32,000/17 = 1,900 to recoup the “investment”. On the other hand, anyone wishing to get a new plate should seriously consider that Arizona already has dozens of these plates ( go here and click on select plate styles).

There is some resistance to “too many” specialty plates, see e.g. Arizona considers limiting specialty license plates which lays out the current process, as well as a suggested limit via HB2313 / 50th2R (2012) , which did not pass.

Here is a typical law, this one to benefit a particular “Values-based Youth Development Organization”:

28-2438. Youth development organization special plates; fund

A. If, by December 31, 2011, an entity described in subsection E of this section pays thirty-two thousand dollars to the department for implementation of this section, the department shall issue youth development organization special plates. The entity that provides the thirty-two thousand dollars shall design the youth development organization special plates. The design and color of the youth development organization special plates are subject to the approval of the department. The director may allow a request for youth development organization special plates to be combined with a request for personalized special plates. If the director allows such a combination, the request shall be in a form prescribed by the director and is subject to the fees for the personalized special plates in addition to the fees required for the youth development organization special plates.

B. Of the twenty-five dollar fee required by section 28-2402 for the original special plates and for renewal of special plates, eight dollars is a special plate administration fee and seventeen dollars is an annual donation.

C. The department shall deposit, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, all special plate administration fees in the state highway fund established by section 28-6991 and all donations collected pursuant to this section in the youth development organization special plate fund established by this section.

D. The youth development organization special plate fund is established consisting of monies deposited pursuant to this section. The director shall administer the fund. Monies in the fund are continuously appropriated.

E. The director shall annually allocate monies from the fund to the entity in this state that paid the implementation fee to the department pursuant to subsection A of this section. The entity must be an incorporated nonprofit corporation that is qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the United States internal revenue code for federal income tax purposes and must be one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations that provides a program for young people that builds character, that trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship and that develops personal fitness. The incorporated nonprofit corporation must have been in existence for at least one century and must help build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun.

F. On notice from the director, the state treasurer shall invest and divest monies in the fund as provided by section 35-313, and monies earned from investment shall be credited to the fund.

In 2018, ADOT/MVD published information about how to do a specialty plate.

Legislation 2019 (#legi)

In the 54th, 1st Regular session HB2606 (or here is direct link to the law) passed and was signed by the governor 4/30/2019. It enables a “share the road” plate with proceeds to be split between organizations headquartered in AZ with 1/2 going to qualified organizations that “PROMOTES SAFETY AND AWARENESS IN THE CYCLING COMMUNITY” and the other half that “OFFERS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A PERSON TO USE A LOANER BICYCLE IF THE PERSON IS REGISTERED IN A CHARITY CYCLING EVENT AND IS NOT ABLE TO AFFORD TO PURCHASE A BICYCLE”

The former is somewhat generic, and the reference to the “cycling community” is rather vague; a senator asked at the committee hearing if that could apply to motorcycling. The sponsor said he would have to check. The latter appears to be designed to refer exclusively to uphillintothewind.

All that remains now is the fundraising of the initial setup fee of $32,000, along with design approval. The funding must be made by Dec 31, 2019 for the program to go into effect.

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