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Senate Bill 1349 — Specialty license plates

Senate Bill 1349 — Specialty license plates

Lindsay Atkinson
February 25, 2020

Bill description:  Under SB 1349, the state would not create any new specialty license plate to benefit a private organization.

Rating: +2

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government? 

The State of Idaho currently has an extensive system of specialty license plates. SB 1349 proposes to limit this system by doing two things. First, this bill would specify that “on and after July 1, 2020, no new special license plate or special license plate program shall be established for the benefit of any entity that is not the state of Idaho or an agency of the state.”

Second, SB 1349 would define a new threshold that existing specialty license plates would have to meet, and that threshold would change over time. A specialty plate would be discontinued if the state issued fewer than 1,000 copies of it during its first year of existence. It would be discontinued if, during its second year, fewer than 1,500 were issued. And in the third and subsequent years, it would be discontinued if fewer than 2,000 were issued. 

This escalating system differs from the current approach, which gives every plate a three year introductory period, during which it cannot be discontinued. After those three years are over, a plate that has been issued fewer than 1,000 times in each year of a two-year period is discontinued.

The two changes in this bill could reduce the state’s extensive system of specialty license plates, marking a decrease in the size of state government activities.


Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board's purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector? 

SB 1349 removes a system whereby the government is currently choosing which nonprofit and other private organizations deserve financial support through a speciality license plate. For example, license plates that benefit the Appaloosa Horse Club, Valley Corvettes of Idaho, the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, Idaho Aviation Association,  University of Idaho Foundation’s Friends of 4-H Division, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association, Boise Southwest Rotary Foundation, and the Idaho Humane Society.

SB 1349 would return a function currently embraced by the government back to the private sector — raising funds for private nonprofits.


Analyst's Note: Our rating of this bill is not altered by any amendments made to it on 2/27.

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