JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri is adding to the 120 specialty license plates already available to state drivers.
Gov. Bob Holden signed into law Thursday a bill authorizing the creation of 28 new specialty license plates, though the measure contains provisions designed to limit the issuance of the plates by the Missouri Department of Revenue.
The law goes into effect Aug. 28.
Some of the new license plates will tout fraternal organizations such as the Elks while others will tout support for Missouri Breast Cancer Awareness or the Missouri Federation of Square and Round Dancers Clubs.
To get a specialty license plate, motorists must pay a $15 fee to the state. Some of the license plates also require a donation of up to $35 to the beneficiary group before applicants can receive the state plate.
The number of specialty license plates available in Missouri was criticized by some lawmakers during the recently completed legislative session. Some specialty plates, while authorized, have never been ordered by motorists.
Nonetheless, Holden signed the legislation into law with 50 people representing organizations included in the bill. He suggested that the additional plates could help generate needed state revenue and state awareness of issues and organizations.
"Listen, I'm looking for any appropriate means to help with revenue in the state of Missouri," Holden said. "I think we have to be cognizant of the groups that are asking for the special license plates."
There are more than 26,000 specialty plates on Missouri vehicles, the Revenue Department has said. The agency generates more than $240,000 in revenue annually because of fees for the specialty plates.
Missouri is among more than 40 states that have authorized specialty plates.
In an attempt to curb the number of plates that are offered, the law signed Thursday requires that organizations receiving money because of the plates be deemed nonprofit. That requirement must be met by Jan. 1, 2004.
Under the law, specialty license plates sponsored by not-for-profit organizations only will be issued by the Revenue Department if 100 applications are received or if an organization pays upfront costs for producing the plate and 10 applications are received.
Sen. Morris Westfall, R-Halfway, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said the intent is to hold organizations accountable for the plates.