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Brandes proposal takes aim at specialty tags


Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has introduced a proposal that would make it tougher to get specialty license plates on the road and keep plate designs in production.

Brandes this week filed a measure (SB 1390) that would increase from 1,000 to 4,000 the number of pre-orders required for new plate designs to be distributed. Sponsor organizations would still have two years to reach the pre-order sales goal.

Also, sales would be discontinued on any tag if annual sales dropped below 4,000 for a 12-month period. The sponsoring organization of a specialty tag would receive a warning letter after the first month in which there were fewer than 4,000 plates on the road, according to the proposal.

A somewhat similar proposal was introduced during the 2015 legislative session as part of a broader bill. The proposal, however, was among the casualties of a meltdown that abruptly ended the session.

The latest report posted by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that of 122 specialty tags on the road in 2014, 55 sold fewer than 4,000. Many of the tags at the bottom of the list are for private colleges and universities, which are currently exempted from the minimum sales requirement.

The state recorded 105 sales of tags benefiting Warner Southern College last year, with Clearwater Christian College attracting 51 sales. The top sellers remain the University of Florida, with 88,805 tags sold and Florida State University, with 62,033.