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California lawmakers vote to give up discount on vanity plates

August 23, 2012 |  9:34 am


California lawmakers voted this week to give up a perk, agreeing to pay the same fees as the general public for vanity license plates on their cars that reflect their role as elected officials.

As it now stands, current and retired legislators can obtain special DMV license plates custom designed for lawmakers by paying a one-time fee of $12. In contrast, the general public, including retired firefighters and police officers, pay $49 to $98 for a special plate and $38 to $78 for annual renewals.

Nearly 700 of the legislator license plates have been issued over the life of the program, including 116 currently in use.

The Assembly on Wednesday approved a bill by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) requiring legislators to pay the same fees as the general public. AB 2068 now goes to the governor for his consideration.

“At a time of economic belt-tightening, when you have student fees rising, classrooms bulging, and cuts everywhere, why should legislators get a special break -- even a small one?  It's just not right,” Portantino said. “These new fees will be the same as what the public pays, which is the right thing to do.”


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Photo: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) won approval of a bill to eliminate the discount for legislators' specialized license plates. Credit: Associated Press