The Iowa Senate has unanimously voted to create a new Iowa license plate design that would let motorists display a non-profit group’s decal on the plate.
Senator Chris Brase, a Democrat from Muscatine, says there’s been a big demand for more and more specialty plates.
“We get a united plate that’s consistent for law enforcement,” Brase says. “The non-profit organizations get an opportunity to design their decal.”
The Iowa DOT would have to approve the design, but the group would be responsible for selling and distributing its decal. The bill forbids license plate decals that are “vulgar” or “insulting” and decals could NOT promote the sale of a specific brand or product. Iowans can get “specialty” license plates today to — for example — show their support of a college or their status as a fire fighter, but a group has to prove at least 250 of those specialty plates would be purchased before the DOT will make them.
“Some of the veterans organizations never hit the minimum 250 quantity, so we have veterans out there, whether it be combat medic or combat veteran that there might be only 20 of ’em,” Brase says. “If a veteran’s organization wants to pick this up, get a decal approved, we can honor those 20 people…and I think that’s just good all the way around.”
Brase envisions Iowa colleges producing decals for specific events, too, like tournaments or conference championships.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity for a lot of organizations,” Brase says. “The DOT’s excited about it. Law enforcement’s happy with it.”
But Brase admits tens of thousands of license plates may become mini-billboards.
“I imagine it probably will,” Brase says, “but our specialty plates were already doing that.”
The bill that cleared the Senate early this evening would let all existing specialty license plate designs continue. A similar bill awaits debate in the Iowa House.