License plate redesign gets stopped

Saturday, July 13, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- There will be no new design for Missouri's vehicle license plates.

Gov. Bob Holden vetoed legislation Friday that would have revived a license plate advisory committee. He said a redesigned plate could have cost the state more than $15 million.

"In a tight fiscal situation, now's not the time to start that process," Holden said.

Besides, the governor added, he likes the look of Missouri's license plates.

The vetoed license plate legislation was among seven bills invalidated by Holden in advance of a Saturday night deadline to either sign or veto bills. Holden had completed action Friday on all 213 bills sent to his desk, his office said.

Missouri's current license plate fades from white on top to a light blue in the middle and green on bottom, with darker blue numerals and letters. A blue squiggly line beneath the state's green-lettered name is intended to represent its many waterways.

Same since 1979

The design followed the recommendations of an advisory committee and was adopted in 1997, marking the first new look for Missouri's plates since 1979.

Costs aside, Holden said it didn't make a lot of sense to get rid of the current license plate after barely five years.

Although not mentioned by Holden in his veto message, the legislation also would have allowed former lawmakers to get special license plates for a $15 fee.

Holden said in an interview that he had nothing against that provision.

Sponsoring Rep. Carson Ross, R-Blue Springs, said the license plate committee was added as a Senate amendment to his bill, which originally dealt only with special plates for former legislators.

He said he understands why Holden vetoed the bill.

"The big thing I'm disappointed with is that it would have provided something to so many legislators that are being term-limited," said Ross, who while term-limited in the House is running for the state Senate this year.

Holden cited fairness while vetoing two other bills. He said one would have relaxed the standards that out-of-state physical therapists must meet to practice in Missouri.

Those "physical therapists were going to be treated differently and better than physical therapists in the state, and I didn't think that was fair," Holden said.

He also vetoed a bill that contained a provision placing the burden of proof on third parties, such as environmental groups, when appealing a permit decision made by the Department of Natural Resources. He said the effect could have been to discourage public participation in the permit process.

Several other bills were vetoed for technical errors or possible legal questions, the governor said.

A vetoed bill adjusting the law on political contribution limits to account for inflation changed numbers in some sentences but not others, Holden said. The law would have had little effect because the Missouri Ethics Commission already uses the inflation-adjusted limits.

Holden also cited a technical error in a vetoed bill related to sexual offender registration. Again, there was little effect because correct language was included in other bills signed by Holden.

The governor said a vetoed bill relating to the Kansas City Police Retirement Board could have allowed the board to adopt policies in conflict with state law.

He said another vetoed bill relating the effective dates of future ballot issues potentially conflicted with the state constitution.

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