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Gov. Jerry Brown ends vanity plate perk for lawmakers

September 29, 2012 |  2:23 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Saturday that will end a longtime legislative perk: special discounts for vanity license plates.

As it now stands, current and retired lawmakers can obtain special DMV license plates custom designed for members of Congress and the Legislature 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.

On Saturday, Brown signed a bill by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) that will require legislators to pay the same fees as the general public.

“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 last month, after the Legislature passed his measure unanimously. 

“These new fees will be the same as what the public pays, which is the right thing to do.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, to allow the DMV time to make adjustments to its billing and accounting system, according to a legislative analysis.


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--Michael J. Mishak