Commentary – A new bureaucracy is created

Legislative Building

A new bureaucracy is created

Needed or not – in its waning days, the legislature determined we will all be reissued new license plates – every eight years.

How long have you had the license plates on your car? RV? Utility trailer? How are they looking?  Are they rusted and/or faded? Or are they looking pretty good?

Beginning July 1, 2016 it really won’t matter.  Beginning on that date the DMV will begin enforcement of AB 484, passed in the last days of the 2015 legislative session.  So, every eight years, regardless of the actual condition of your Nevada license plates, you will be required to replace them with shiny, brand new plates.

According to DMV testimony, “It is estimated that 26-percent of existing Nevada license plates exceed the eight year mark and will be eligible for reissue.  The Department will focus on the license plates which have been in service the longest first; knowing they have the greatest need for replacement.”

There is no room for consideration as to whether they actually need replacement.

This is one of the more inane, unnecessary bills to come out of the recent legislative session.

The stated logic behind this program is to ensure all Nevada plates are in compliance with reflectivity, legibility and readability standards.  According to DMV projections, this will require the production and distribution of approximately 700,000 additional license plates per year.  I assume it also means 700,000 plates will have to be disposed of, too.

In addition, the DMV will soon begin issuing embossed license plates. The replacement of the now undesirable flat plate design will naturally occur over an eight year period.  It was the state who determined the flat plates were to be issued in the first place.

 DMV, also, in arguing for passage of AB 484 and the high volume of needed plates, noted per plate replacement pricing will be lower.   If the bill did not pass, needed plate replacement costs to the owner would be higher.  Of course, prior to the bill being passed, only those who genuinely need a new plate would have to pay!  Now we all get to pay that “lower” cost.

In response to my questions regarding the impact and implementation of this legislation, the Legislative Council Bureau very efficiently provided me with the following information:

  • The Legislature approved the Governor’s recommendation for a second production shift to produce the plates
  • This shift will consist of three new positions (Program Officer, Driver Warehouse Worker, Maintenance Repair Aid) and 20 minimum-security inmates from the Stewart Conservation Camp.
  • The projected cost to replace two standard plates is $9.00 ($3.50 per plate; 50-cents license plate Prison industry fee; and $1.00 DMV Technology Fee to cover the two-plate transaction). Postage does not appear to be included in this.
  • At the $3.50 fee level, estimated revenues in the 2016-17 Fiscal Year would be approximately $2.1 million and $352,222 for special plates, totaling approximately $2.4 million over the 2015-17 biennium.
  • The estimated costs for three new positions, vendor costs, materials, utilities, postage, etc. is approximately $2.2 million for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year.
  • In explaining their plans for implementation, DMV officials testified they would start with older, more worn out plates and work forward.

The above are estimates and could vary with fluctuations in material costs.  Production is slated to begin in July 2016.

DMV officials testified this program should not have any impact on wait times at DMV offices, because the new license plate transaction will be conducted at the same time customers renew their vehicle registration and said the new plates will be mailed to the customer.  What is the cost of mailing a set of plates?  (It is my understanding you will be able to retain your specialty plate design and numbers.)

Currently, when plates are observed by law enforcement officials to be out of compliance, aren’t the offenders cited and given the opportunity to replace the plates?  This seems a much less costly and more efficient system than an ongoing replacement program for all plates, regardless of their condition.  Just because a plate is older does not mean it is worn out and unreadable.

What is the plan for disposal of all the used plates?  Are they to be turned in, or is it left to the owner to dispose of them as they wish?   Did anyone consider the waste involved here?  Perhaps this will create a whole new industry – license plate recycling.

There are still questions to be asked and answers needed.   It is sort of like the Affordable Care Act – we will find out what is in it and the impacts now that it is passed.  My bet is this program is going to be much more costly than projected!

Think about it.

Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor

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