Indiana Senate panel considers specialty plate limits

IYG's executive director says her group was targeted by the BMV.
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The Indiana Senate is set to start reviewing a plan overhauling the state's specialty auto license plate system by requiring all groups with plates to sell 500 per year and undergo a financial review once a decade.

The House approved the proposal last month after a similar push was derailed a year ago by social conservatives who led a drive to revoke the plate issued to a gay youth advocacy group.

The BMV, which began an investigation of the Indiana Youth Group at the written request of 20 state senators, said IYG wrongly traded low-digit plates for contributions. But Advance America founder Eric Miller claimed the move as a victory for his cause. Advance America fought for the plates to be banned. IYG's executive director says her group was targeted by the BMV.

The plan calls for a new bipartisan commission that would review requests for new plates and check reports about how the groups spend the license plate money. The bill sets a limit of 150 specialty plates, while the state now has about 100 specialty plates.

A House committee voted in 2012 to pull the specialty plates from the IYG and nearly three dozen other organizations that sold fewer than 1,000 plates in 2011. Instead, lawmakers decided to form a study committee. The Indy Greenways Foundation and Indiana 4-H Foundation were also not allowed to take part in the specialty plate program.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before the Senate's transportation committee.

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