Assemblymember Anthony Portantino’s bill requiring lawmakers who have legislative vanity plates on their personal cars to pay the same fees paid by the general public, has been overwhelmingly approved by the state Assembly. AB 2068 passed the Assembly today on a vote of 63 to 0.
“I am very pleased that the Assembly saw the merit to bringing equity and fairness to this issue. Most California drivers who want personalized license plates, commonly referred to as vanity plates, have to pay an extra fee,” explained Assemblymember Portantino. “Even veterans pay the state an annual fee. Not California legislators. Current and retired legislators get their personalized license plates almost for free. The bi-partisan support for this reform is greatly appreciated and significant.”
Under existing law, current and retired Assemblymembers and State Senators can ask the DMV for a license plate that designates them as a state legislator or retired state legislator. They pay $12 for the initial plate and don’t have to pay an annual renewal fee – ever. In contrast, average Californians, retired police and fire included, pay $49 to $98 for a special plate and $38 to $78 for annual renewals. The DMV estimates that over the life of the program, it has issued almost 700 California legislator license plates with 116 currently in use.
“At a time of economic belt-tightening, when you have student fees rising and classrooms bulging, when you have padlocked parks and cuts everywhere, why should legislators get a special break – even a small one? It’s just not right,” said Portantino.
Portantino does not use an Assembly license plate and has no plans to receive one upon retirement.