2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 40 - MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC
CHAPTER 2 - REGISTRATION AND LICENSING OF MOTOR VEHICLES
ARTICLE 3 - PRESTIGE LICENSE PLATES AND SPECIAL PLATES FOR CERTAIN PERSONS AND VEHICLES
§ 40-2-60.1 - Standardized administrative process for special license plates; legislative findings; rules and regulations; definitions; utilization of funds; designs; fees; application for special license plates; continued issuance of plates; transfer of plates

O.C.G.A. 40-2-60.1 (2010)
40-2-60.1. Standardized administrative process for special license plates; legislative findings; rules and regulations; definitions; utilization of funds; designs; fees; application for special license plates; continued issuance of plates; transfer of plates


(a) The General Assembly finds that in recent years numerous laws were enacted providing for the issuance of special license plates for certain persons and vehicles. The General Assembly finds that there exists a need for a standardized administrative process to provide for the authorization of issuance of such special license plates and that the public interest will be best served by such a standardized administrative process. While recognizing that the legislature may not abridge or delegate its powers, the General Assembly declares that it is in the public interest of this state for future proposals for special license plates to be governed by the administrative process established by this Code section rather than by the legislative process.

(b) (1) The General Assembly determines that the issuance of special license plates to support an agency, fund, or program beneficial to the people of this state that is administered by a nonprofit corporation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code and the dedication of a portion of the funds raised from the issuance of these special license plates is in the best interests of the people of this state and is authorized by Article III, Section IX, Paragraph VI(n) of the Constitution.

(2) The commissioner is authorized to adopt rules and regulations for the issuance of special license plates for groups of individuals and vehicles. All special license plates issued pursuant to this paragraph shall not be subject to the provisions of subsection (e) of this Code section.

(c) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) "Manufacturing fee" means a $25.00 fee paid at the time an application is submitted or upon the issuance of a special license plate.

(2) "Registration fee" means the fees as set forth in Code Section 40-2-151.

(3) "Special license plate" means a license plate that is authorized under this Code section that commemorates an event or supports an agency, fund, or program beneficial to the people of this state or is specifically authorized by the General Assembly for certain persons or vehicles.

(4) "Special license plate fee" means a $35.00 fee paid at the time a special license plate is issued.

(5) "Special license plate renewal fee" means a $35.00 fee paid at the time a special license plate is renewed and a revalidation decal is issued.

(c.1) Any special license plate issued under the provisions of this Code section shall be subject to the manufacturing fee, special license plate fee, and special license plate renewal fee provided for in this Code section.

(d) The agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation sponsoring a special license plate, in cooperation with the commissioner, shall design a special distinctive license plate appropriate to promote the program benefited by the issuance of the special license plate. Special license plates for groups of individuals and vehicles shall be readily recognizable by the insertion of an appropriate logo or graphic identifying the special nature of the license plate. All special license plates must be of the same size as general issue motor vehicle license plates and shall include a unique design and identifying number, whereby the total number of characters does not exceed an amount to be determined by the commissioner. No two recipients shall receive identically numbered plates. Spaces for county name labels are required for license plates authorized under this Code section unless expressly eliminated by the request of the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation sponsoring a special license plate at the time the license plate is designed.

(e) Before the department disburses to the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation funds from the issuance of special license plates, the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation must provide a written statement stating the manner in which such funds will be utilized. In addition, a nonprofit corporation must provide the department with documentation of its nonprofit status under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code. The agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation shall periodically provide to the commissioner an audit of the use of the funds or other evidence of use of the funds satisfactory to the commissioner. If it is determined that the funds are not being used for the purposes set forth in the statement provided by the agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation, the department shall withhold payment of such funds until such noncompliance issues are resolved.

(f) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Code section, no special license plate shall be produced until such time as the State of Georgia has, through a licensing agreement or otherwise, received such licenses or other permissions as may be required to produce the special license plate. The department shall not utilize any graphic that is copyrighted unless a sponsoring organization has secured for the state the authority to utilize the copyrighted design at no cost to the state and the sponsoring organization has agreed to hold the state harmless against any related claim of copyright violation or infringement. The design of the initial edition of any special license plate, as well as the design of subsequent editions and excepting only any part or parts of the designs owned by others and licensed to the state, shall be owned solely by the State of Georgia for its exclusive use and control, except as authorized by the commissioner. The commissioner may take such steps as may be necessary to give notice of and protect such right, including the copyright or copyrights. However, such steps shall be cumulative of the ownership and exclusive use and control established by this subsection as a matter of law, and no person shall reproduce or otherwise use such design or designs, except as authorized by the commissioner.

(g) Any Georgia resident who is the owner of a motor vehicle, except a commercial vehicle as defined in 49 C.F.R. Section 390.5, upon complying with the motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles and payment of the appropriate fees as set forth in this Code section in addition to the required motor vehicle registration fee, shall be able to apply for a special license plate as provided in this Code section.

(h) Any party requesting a special license plate not previously authorized by this chapter shall make application with the department. The application shall include a design of the proposed license plate and a bond of $50,000.00 to serve as surety for moneys collected from applicants by the sponsor. The commissioner shall review and approve or disapprove all applications within 30 days of receipt by the department. Upon approval of the design by the commissioner, the special license plate authorized pursuant to this subsection shall not be issued except upon the receipt by the department of at least 1,000 prepaid applications together with the manufacturing fees within two years after the date of approval by the commissioner. After such time if the minimum number of applications is not met, the department shall not continue to accept the manufacturing fees, and all fees held by the department and the sponsor shall be refunded to applicants; provided, however, that once the department has received 1,000 prepaid applications along with the manufacturing fees, the sponsor shall not be entitled to a refund.

(i) Upon the receipt of 1,000 applications together with manufacturing fees, the commissioner shall provide a letter of certification to the sponsor verifying that the sponsor has satisfied the requirements of the provisions of this Code section. Upon receipt of the letter of certification, the sponsor, if necessary, shall seek enactment of the appropriate legislation required to authorize manufacture of the special license plate.

(j) The department shall not be required to continue to manufacture a special license plate or accept renewals and applications if the number of active registrations falls below 500 registrations at any time during a calendar year. A current registrant may continue to renew such special license plate during his or her annual registration period. The department may continue to issue such special license plates that it has in its inventory to assist in achieving the minimum number of registrations. If the number of active registrations for the special license plate falls below 500 at any time during a calendar year, the sponsoring agency, fund, or nonprofit corporation shall be required to obtain 1,000 applications accompanied by the manufacturing fee to continue to manufacture the special license plate.

(k) Special license plates shall be transferred from one vehicle to another vehicle in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 40-2-80.

(l) Special license plates shall be issued within 30 days of application once the requirements of this Code section have been met.

(m) The commissioner is authorized and directed to establish procedures and promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this Code section. The rules and regulations to be promulgated by the commissioner may provide for exceptions whereby a special license plate will not be issued if the issuance of the plate would adversely affect public safety.

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