SECTION 1. For the purposes of this act, “enhanced recognition and identification registration plate” shall be a registration plate that has the capability to incorporate:
(a) commonly recognizable symbols, which are easily identifiable, with each symbol having a corresponding 3 character alpha-numeric reference, with not more than 2 characters identifying the symbol and 1 character representing the location of the symbol on the plate, such that both the symbol and the references may be placed in a variety of locations on the plate to maximize the number of individual combinations that may be produced in conjunction with standard letters and numbers;
(b) existing and innovative technologies and componentry to aid in the identification of characters in conditions that result in poor-visibility, including, but not limited to, nighttime and inclement weather;
(c) not more than 4 alpha-numeric characters; and
(d) distinctive and low-number plates, including plates authorized under sections 2 and 2E of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as well as any distinctive registration plates issued by the registrar under section 2F of said chapter 90.
SECTION 2. There is hereby established a special task force to analyze the feasibility of a registration plate system utilizing enhanced recognition and identification registration plates. The task force shall consist of the registrar of motor vehicles, who shall serve as the chair; the colonel of the state police or a designee; a representative of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; a representative of the criminal justice information systems; a designee from the Molly Bish Center for Missing and Exploited Children; the secretary of administration and finance or a designee the secretary of transportation or a designee; a representative of the American Automobile Association; a representative of the Massachusetts Correctional Industries; the secretary of the executive office of public safety and security or a designee; a representative of the State Police Association of Massachusetts; a member of a labor organization representing police officers designated by the governor; a designee appointed by the senate president; a designee appointed by the minority leader of the senate; a designee appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; and a designee appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives.
The study shall include, but not be limited to, short-term and long-term costs to the commonwealth, time frame for implementation, impact on federal, state and local law enforcement and between states and the tools and equipment necessary to produce enhanced recognition and identification registration plates. The study shall assess: (i) human reaction to numbers, letters, characters and symbols and the ability to cognitively process such numbers, letters, characters and symbols; provided, however, that the task force shall rely upon scientific studies that have been peer reviewed and consult with relevant research or clinical scientists or medical professionals to verify the accuracy of the information it reviews; (ii) transportation-based factors including, but not limited to, the impact on toll revenues; (iii) interfaces with motor vehicle databases in other states including, without limitation, any licensing and registration system used by the registry of motor vehicles; and (iv) criminal information system accessibility.
The task force may conduct 1 or more public hearings to inform the public of its activities. The task force shall seek input from the United States Department of Justice, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Department of Homeland Security. The report of the task force shall be filed with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives not later than December 31, 2013.
SECTION 3. If designing, developing, procuring or implementing an information management system as a successor or replacement to its Automated License and Registration System, the registrar of motor vehicles shall, in good faith, attempt to ensure that such system is consistent with the technology necessary to effectively utilize enhanced recognition and identification registration plates. Nothing in this section shall limit the ability of the registrar to make necessary changes and improvements to the current Automated License and Registration System, or limit the registrar from designing, developing, procuring or implementing a successor system that is not compliant with enhanced recognition and identification registration plates if the registrar determines a system compatible with enhanced recognition and identification registration plates is not in the best interest of the registry of motor vehicles or the commonwealth.
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