SECOND REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 2148

95TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY


 

 

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES WILSON (130) (Sponsor), FUNDERBURK, DENISON, SATER, GRILL, MOLENDORP, WELLS, WETER, COLONA AND FISCHER (107) (Co-sponsors).

5001L.01I                                                                                                                                                  D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk


 

AN ACT

To repeal sections 301.120, 301.130, and 301.144, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof three new sections relating to license plates.




Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:


            Section A. Sections 301.120, 301.130, and 301.144, RSMo, are repealed and three new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 301.120, 301.130, and 301.144, to read as follows:

            301.120. When the owner of a motor vehicle moves the vehicle to another state, [he] the owner shall return the license plate or plates to the director of revenue within ninety days or upon the expiration of the period of reciprocity granted by the new state of residence; or if the owner of a motor vehicle ceases to operate the vehicle in Missouri, [he] the owner shall return the license plate or plates to the director of revenue within ninety days.

            301.130. 1. The director of revenue, upon receipt of a proper application for registration, required fees and any other information which may be required by law, shall issue to the applicant a certificate of registration in such manner and form as the director of revenue may prescribe and [a set of license plates] one license plate, or other evidence of registration, as provided by this section. Each [set of license plates] license plate shall bear the name or abbreviated name of this state, the words "SHOW-ME STATE", the month and year in which the registration shall expire, and an arrangement of numbers or letters, or both, as shall be assigned from year to year by the director of revenue. [The plates] Each plate shall also contain fully reflective material with a common color scheme and design for each type of license plate issued pursuant to this chapter. [The plates] Each plate shall be clearly visible at night, and shall be aesthetically attractive. Special plates for qualified disabled veterans will have the "DISABLED VETERAN" wording on the license [plates] plate in preference to the words "SHOW-ME STATE" and special plates for members of the national guard will have the "NATIONAL GUARD" wording in preference to the words "SHOW-ME STATE".

            2. The arrangement of letters and numbers of license plates shall be uniform throughout each classification of registration. The director may provide for the arrangement of the numbers in groups or otherwise, and for other distinguishing marks on the plates.

            3. All property-carrying commercial motor vehicles to be registered at a gross weight in excess of twelve thousand pounds, all passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles, local transit buses, school buses, trailers, semitrailers, motorcycles, motortricycles, motorscooters and driveaway vehicles shall be registered with the director of revenue as provided for in subsection 3 of section 301.030, or with the state highways and transportation commission as otherwise provided in this chapter, [but] and only one license plate shall be issued for each such vehicle.

            4. The plates issued to manufacturers and dealers shall bear the letters and numbers as prescribed by section 301.560, and the director may place upon the plates other letters or marks to distinguish commercial motor vehicles and trailers and other types of motor vehicles.

            5. No motor vehicle or trailer shall be operated on any highway of this state unless it shall have displayed thereon the license plate [or set of license plates] issued by the director of revenue or the state highways and transportation commission and authorized by section 301.140. Each such plate shall be securely fastened to the motor vehicle or trailer in a manner so that all parts thereof shall be plainly visible and reasonably clean so that the reflective qualities thereof are not impaired. Each such plate may be encased in a transparent cover so long as the plate is plainly visible and its reflective qualities are not impaired. License plates shall be fastened to all motor vehicles except trucks, tractors, truck tractors or truck-tractors licensed in excess of twelve thousand pounds on the [front and] rear of such vehicles not less than eight nor more than forty-eight inches above the ground, with the letters and numbers thereon right side up. The license plates on trailers, motorcycles, motortricycles and motorscooters shall be displayed on the rear of such vehicles, with the letters and numbers thereon right side up. The license plate on buses, other than school buses, and on trucks, tractors, truck tractors or truck-tractors licensed in excess of twelve thousand pounds shall be displayed on the front of such vehicles not less than eight nor more than forty-eight inches above the ground, with the letters and numbers thereon right side up [or if two plates are issued for the vehicle pursuant to subsection 3 of this section, displayed in the same manner on the front and rear of such vehicles]. The license plate [or plates] authorized by section 301.140, when properly attached, shall be prima facie evidence that the required fees have been paid.

            6. (1) The director of revenue shall issue annually or biennially a tab [or set of tabs] as provided by law as evidence of the annual payment of registration fees and the current registration of a vehicle in lieu of the [set of plates] plate. Beginning January 1, 2010, the director may prescribe any additional information recorded on the tab [or tabs] to ensure that the tab [or tabs] positively [correlate] correlates with the license plate [or plates] issued by the department of revenue for such vehicle. Such tabs shall be produced in each license bureau office.

            (2) The vehicle owner to whom a tab [or set of tabs] is issued shall affix and display such tab [or tabs] in the designated area of the license plate[, no more than one per plate].

            (3) A tab [or set of tabs] issued by the director of revenue when attached to a vehicle in the prescribed manner shall be prima facie evidence that the registration fee for such vehicle has been paid.

            (4) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the director of revenue shall issue plates for a period of at least six years.

            (5) For those commercial motor vehicles and trailers registered pursuant to section 301.041, the plate issued by the highways and transportation commission shall be a permanent nonexpiring license plate for which no tabs shall be issued. Nothing in this section shall relieve the owner of any vehicle permanently registered pursuant to this section from the obligation to pay the annual registration fee due for the vehicle. The permanent nonexpiring license plate shall be returned to the highways and transportation commission upon the sale or disposal of the vehicle by the owner to whom the permanent nonexpiring license plate is issued, or the plate may be transferred to a replacement commercial motor vehicle when the owner files a supplemental application with the Missouri highways and transportation commission for the registration of such replacement commercial motor vehicle. Upon payment of the annual registration fee, the highways and transportation commission shall issue a certificate of registration or other suitable evidence of payment of the annual fee, and such evidence of payment shall be carried at all times in the vehicle for which it is issued.

            (6) Upon the sale or disposal of any vehicle permanently registered under this section, or upon the termination of a lease of any such vehicle, the permanent nonexpiring plate issued for such vehicle shall be returned to the highways and transportation commission and shall not be valid for operation of such vehicle, or the plate may be transferred to a replacement vehicle when the owner files a supplemental application with the Missouri highways and transportation commission for the registration of such replacement vehicle. If a vehicle which is permanently registered under this section is sold, wrecked or otherwise disposed of, or the lease terminated, the registrant shall be given credit for any unused portion of the annual registration fee when the vehicle is replaced by the purchase or lease of another vehicle during the registration year.

            7. The director of revenue and the highways and transportation commission may prescribe rules and regulations for the effective administration of this section. No rule or portion of a rule promulgated under the authority of this section shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section 536.024, RSMo.

            8. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, owners of motor vehicles other than apportioned motor vehicles or commercial motor vehicles licensed in excess of eighteen thousand pounds gross weight may apply for special personalized license plates. Vehicles licensed for eighteen thousand pounds that display special personalized license plates shall be subject to the provisions of subsections 1 and 2 of section 301.030.

            9. No later than January 1, 2009, the director of revenue shall commence the reissuance of new license plates of such design as directed by the director consistent with the terms, conditions, and provisions of this section and this chapter. Except as otherwise provided in this section, in addition to all other fees required by law, applicants for registration of vehicles with license plates that expire during the period of reissuance, applicants for registration of trailers or semitrailers with license plates that expire during the period of reissuance and applicants for registration of vehicles that are to be issued new license plates during the period of reissuance shall pay the cost of the plates required by this subsection. The additional cost prescribed in this subsection shall not be charged to persons receiving special license plates issued under section 301.073 or 301.443. Historic motor vehicle license plates registered pursuant to section 301.131 and specialized license plates are exempt from the provisions of this subsection. Except for new, replacement, and transfer applications, permanent nonexpiring license plates issued to commercial motor vehicles and trailers registered under section 301.041 are exempt from the provisions of this subsection.

            10. The provisions of this section regarding the issuance of only one license plate for a motor vehicle shall not apply to the issuance of personalized license plates.

            301.144. 1. The director of revenue shall establish and issue special personalized license plates containing letters or numbers or combinations of letters and numbers. Such license plates shall be made with fully reflective material with a common color scheme and design, shall be clearly visible at night, and shall be aesthetically attractive, as prescribed by section 301.130. Any person desiring to obtain a special personalized license plate for any motor vehicle the person owns, either solely or jointly, other than an apportioned motor vehicle or a commercial motor vehicle licensed in excess of eighteen thousand pounds gross weight shall apply to the director of revenue on a form provided by the director and shall pay a fee of fifteen dollars in addition to the regular registration fees. The director of revenue shall issue rules and regulations setting the standards and establishing the procedure for application for and issuance of the special personalized license plates and shall provide a deadline each year for the applications. Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, RSMo, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536, RSMo, and, if applicable, section 536.028, RSMo. This section and chapter 536, RSMo, are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536, RSMo, to review, to delay the effective date or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2001, shall be invalid and void. No two owners shall be issued identical plates. An owner shall make a new application and pay a new fee each year such owner desires to obtain or retain special personalized license plates; however, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 8 of section 301.130 to the contrary, the director shall allow the special personalized license plates to be replaced with new plates every three years without any additional charge, above the fee established in this section, to the renewal applicant. Any person currently in possession of an approved personalized license plate shall have first priority on that particular plate for each of the following years that timely and appropriate application is made.

            2. Upon application for a personalized plate by the owner of a motor vehicle for which the owner has no registration plate available for transfer as prescribed by section 301.140, the director shall issue a temporary permit authorizing the operation of the motor vehicle until the personalized plate is issued.

            3. No personalized license plates shall be issued containing any letters, numbers or combination of letters and numbers which are obscene, profane, patently offensive or contemptuous of a racial or ethnic group, or offensive to good taste or decency, or would present an unreasonable danger to the health or safety of the applicant, of other users of streets and highways, or of the public in any location where the vehicle with such a plate may be found. The director may recall any personalized license plates, including those issued prior to August 28, 1992, if the director determines that the plates are obscene, profane, patently offensive or contemptuous of a racial or ethnic group, or offensive to good taste or decency, or would present an unreasonable danger to the health or safety of the applicant, of other users of streets and highways, or of the public in any location where the vehicle with such a plate may be found. Where the director recalls such plates pursuant to the provisions of this subsection, the director shall reissue personalized license plates to the owner of the motor vehicle for which they were issued at no charge, if the new plates proposed by the owner of the motor vehicle meet the standards established pursuant to this section. The director shall not apply the provisions of this statute in a way that violates the Missouri or United States Constitutions as interpreted by the courts with controlling authority in the state of Missouri. The primary purpose of motor vehicle license plates is to identify motor vehicles. Nothing in the issuance of a personalized license plate creates a designated or limited public forum. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be interpreted to prohibit the use of license plates, which are no longer valid for registration purposes, as collector's items or for decorative purposes.

            4. The director may also establish categories of special license plates from which license plates may be issued. Any such person, other than a person exempted from the additional fee pursuant to subsection 7 of this section, that desires a personalized special license plate from any such category shall pay the same additional fee and make the same kind of application as that required by subsection 1 of this section, and the director shall issue such plates in the same manner as other personalized special license plates are issued.

            5. The director of revenue shall issue to residents of the state of Missouri who hold an unrevoked and unexpired official amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, upon application and upon payment of the additional fee specified in subsection 1 of this section, except for a person exempted from the additional fee pursuant to subsection 7 of this section, personalized special license plates bearing the official amateur radio call letters assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to the applicant with the words "AMATEUR RADIO" in place of the words "SHOW-ME STATE". The application shall be accompanied by a statement stating that the applicant has an unrevoked and unexpired amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission and the official radio call letters assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to the applicant. An owner making a new application and paying a new fee to retain an amateur radio plate may request a replacement plate with the words "AMATEUR RADIO" in place of the words "SHOW-ME STATE". If application is made to retain a plate that is three years old or older, the replacement plate shall be issued upon the payment of required fees.

            6. Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, any business that repossesses motor vehicles or trailers and sells or otherwise disposes of them shall be issued a placard displaying the word "Repossessed", provided such business pays the license fees presently required of a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer in section 301.560. Such placard shall bear a number and shall be in such form as the director of revenue shall determine, and shall be only used for demonstrations when displayed substantially as provided for number plates on the rear of the repossessed motor vehicle or trailer.

            7. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any person who has retired from any branch of the United States armed forces or reserves, the United States Coast Guard or reserve, the United States Merchant Marines or reserve, the National Guard, or any subdivision of any such services shall be exempt from the additional fee required for personalized license plates issued pursuant to section 301.441. As used in this subsection, "retired" means having served twenty or more years in the appropriate branch of service and having received an honorable discharge.

            8. The provisions of section 301.130 regarding the issuance of only one license plate for a motor vehicle shall not apply to personalized license plates issued under this section.