Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 161967
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File Number: 161967 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-848-16 Control: County Commission
File Name: APPLY TO NON-ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A LICENSE PLATE Introduced: 9/1/2016
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 9/20/2016
Agenda Date: 9/20/2016 Agenda Item Number: 11A2
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO CLARIFY STATE LAW REGULATING MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE PLATES TO PERMIT LICENSE PLATE FRAMES THAT PARTIALLY COVER NON-ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A PLATE, SO LONG AS THE FRAMES DO NOT OBSTRUCT OR OBSCURE THE ALPHANUMERIC DESIGNATION AND REGISTRATION DECAL
Indexes: URGING
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 9/20/2016 11A2 Adopted P

County Attorney 9/1/2016 Assigned Dayron Silverio 9/9/2016

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO CLARIFY STATE LAW REGULATING MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE PLATES TO PERMIT LICENSE PLATE FRAMES THAT PARTIALLY COVER NON-ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A PLATE, SO LONG AS THE FRAMES DO NOT OBSTRUCT OR OBSCURE THE ALPHANUMERIC DESIGNATION AND REGISTRATION DECAL

BODY

WHEREAS, state law regulates motor vehicle license plates, setting forth visibility and legibility requirements and establishing what can and cannot be placed upon, onto or around any license plate; and
WHEREAS, section 316.605(1), Florida Statutes, requires that “all letters, numerals, printing, writing, the registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation” on a plate be free from “obscuring matter”; and
WHEREAS, section 320.061, Florida Statutes, similarly prohibits anyone from attaching any material on a plate that interferes with the legibility of “any feature or detail on the license plate”; and
WHEREAS, a violation of these statutes constitutes a noncriminal traffic infraction; and
WHEREAS, by law, a standard Florida license plate contains an alphanumeric designation, a registration decal on the upper right-hand corner, the letters “MYFLORIDA.COM” across the top of the face of the plate, and either “SUNSHINE STATE” or the name of the county issuing the plate on the bottom; and
WHEREAS, “MYFLORIDA.COM,” “SUNSHINE STATE” and the county-name portions of the plate arguably are letters, features and details within the meaning of sections 316.605(1) and 320.061, such that it would be unlawful to obscure them; and
WHEREAS, law enforcement officers, pursuant to these statutes, have in fact stopped and cited motorists for driving vehicles with license plate frames partly covering the “MYFLORIDA.COM,” “SUNSHINE STATE” and county-name portions of the plate; and
WHEREAS, citing motorists under sections 316.605(1) and 320.061 for license plate frames that partially cover “MYFLORIDA.COM,” “SUNSHINE STATE” and the county name is inconsistent with the underlying public policy; and
WHEREAS, the prohibitions against obstructing and obscuring license plate features in sections 316.605(1) and 320.061 primarily exist to facilitate identification of a vehicle, which in turns promotes public safety; and
WHEREAS, the “MYFLORIDA.COM,” “SUNSHINE STATE” and county-name portions of the plate are not essential to the identification of a vehicle, as evidenced by the numerous specialty Florida license plates that do not contain them; and
WHEREAS, the legislative history of section 316.605(1) further suggests that the Florida Legislature intended to exclude non-essential letters from the statute’s prohibitions; and
WHEREAS, in 2014 the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 7005, which amended section 316.605(1) by deleting a portion that read, “and other identification marks upon the plates regarding the word ‘Florida,’ ”; and

WHEREAS, according to the House of Representatives Final Bill Analysis, the amendment was intended “to allow the use of license plate frames that might otherwise partially obscure the word ‘Florida’ when it appears at the top or bottom of the license plate”; and
WHEREAS, therefore, both the underlying public policy and legislative history indicate that sections 316.605(1) and 320.061 should not prohibit partially covering non-essential features of a license plate that do not aid in the identification of the vehicle; and
WHEREAS, the lawful use of license plate frames, which are ubiquitous in modern society, frequently associated with universities and nonprofits, and often used to promote worthy causes, should be clarified; and
WHEREAS, this Board believes that the Florida Legislature should clarify state law regulating motor vehicle license plates to permit license plate frames that partially cover non-essential features of a plate, so long as the frames do not obstruct or obscure the alphanumeric designation and registration decal,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to clarify state law regulating motor vehicle license plates to permit license plate frames that partially cover non-essential features of a plate, so long as the frames do not obstruct or obscure the alphanumeric designation and registration decal.

Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of this resolution to the Governor, the Senate President, the House Speaker, and the Chair and Members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the legislation described in Section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2017 State Legislative Package when it is presented to the Board.



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