Skip to Content

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 835         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1798


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Bruce E. Tarr


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to enhance the license plate system of the Commonwealth..






Bruce E. Tarr


John D. Keenan

7th Essex

Anne M. Gobi

5th Worcester

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 835        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1798

By Mr. Tarr, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1798) of Bruce E. Tarr, John D. Keenan and Anne M. Gobi for legislation to enhance the license plate system of the Commonwealth.  Transportation. 


SEE SENATE, NO. 1967 OF 2009-2010.]

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts


In the Year Two Thousand Eleven



An Act to enhance the license plate system of the Commonwealth..

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. The registrar is hereby authorized and directed pursuant to the authority granted by Section 2 of Chapter 90 of the general laws to develop, design and implement a redesigned plate system for motor vehicles registered in the Commonwealth, provided further that such system shall be fully implemented not later than five years following the passage of this act.  Said plate shall incorporate technology and design components and advances to increase the illumination and visual recognition of said plates.  Said plates shall incorporate, but shall not be limited to, the following:

              The utilization of commonly recognizable symbols, which are easily identifiable, with each symbol having a corresponding three character alpha-numeric reference, with no more than two characters identifying the symbol, and one 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, so as to the maximize the number of individual combinations which may be produced in conjunction with standard letters and numbers.

              The utilization of existing and innovative technologies and componentry to aid in the identification of characters in conditions that result in poor-visibility, including during nighttime and inclement weather.

              The reduction of the number of standard alpha-numeric characters currently utilized for such plates to no more than a total of four.

              The utilization of specialized symbols either supplied by the registrar or developed by private charitable interests and approved by the registrar pursuant to the requirements of this act, provided that the use such symbol shall be conditioned on the payment of a fee in addition to that required for a vehicle registration pursuant to section 2 of chapter 90.

              The accommodation of all currently issued distinctive and low-number plates, so-called, including plates authorized under sections 2 and 2E of Chapter 90, as well as any additional distinctive license plates issued by the registrar pursuant to the requirements of section 2F of Chapter 90.

              There shall be hereby created and established a registration plate design and implementation board, hereinafter the board. The board shall consist of eight members, the Registrar of motor vehicles or his designee, who also shall be the chair, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety or his designee, the Colonel of the Department of State Police or his designee, the Executive Director of the Criminal System Histories Board or his designee, the Executive Director of the Municipal Police Training Committee or his designee, a representative of the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau, a representative of the Massachusetts Chief’s of Police Association, and a representative of the Massachusetts Safety Officers Association.   The board shall approve a design and establish protocols for the implementation of a redesigned plate system that provides for additional public safety through the simplification of plate design for the purposes of enhancing the recognition, recall and identification of plates.  In addition, the board shall develop training protocols for utilization of the redesigned plate for public safety officers.  The board shall report to the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security regarding any issues relating the design or implementation of said plate system not later than six months of the passage of this act. 

              The registrar may, in carrying out the provisions of this Act, enter into one or more contracts for the design, development, implementation, maintenance or production of said plate system.

              Section 2.  There shall be hereby established and set up on the books of the Commonwealth a special fund to be known as the License Plate Symbol Revenue Fund, hereinafter called the fund, into which shall be deposited any funds granted by the issuance of specialized symbols created to the provisions of item 4, in section 1 of this act.  The primary purpose of the fund shall be to make expenditures in order to facilitate the implementation of the license plate program developed pursuant to this act, and the secondary purpose of the fund shall be to distribute funds to specific charitable programs or purposes as specified for specialized symbols as authorized pursuant to the provisions of item 4 of section 1 of this act.

              Section 3.  In carrying out the provisions of this Act, the registrar shall consult with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and any other necessary agencies of the federal government, national or regional organizations, and any necessary state agencies to determine the feasibility, including costs and advantages and disadvantages, of developing and implementing the plate system prescribed by Section 1 of this Act.  The registrar shall report the findings of said feasibility analysis to the Clerks of the House and Senate, the Joint Committee on Transportation and the Joint Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety not later than six months following the passage of this Act.

              Section 4.  Sections 1 and 2 of this Act shall take effect ninety days following the filing of the feasibility analysis by the registrar as provided in Section 3.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.