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License Plate Expiration On Change Of Ownership

Concerning license plates, and, in connection therewith, specifying that, in order to minimize potential lost registration revenue, the license plates of a motor vehicle that is classified as Class C personal property expire upon the sale or transfer of the motor vehicle, and making an appropriation.
2020 Regular Session
Transportation & Motor Vehicles
Bill Summary

Transportation Legislation Review Committee. The bill specifies that:

  • The license plates of a motor vehicle that is Class C personal property for purposes of the laws governing the levying of specific ownership tax and registration of vehicles expire upon the transfer of the owner's title or interest in the motor vehicle;
  • If either the expired license plates are personalized license plates or the owner wishes to continue to use the same combination of letters or numbers on the owner's expired license plates that were not originally issued as personalized license plates, the owner retains the priority right to use the combination of letters or numbers displayed on the expired license plates to the extent provided for in current law and may, after surrendering the expired license plates to the department of revenue (department), apply for personalized license plates that use the combination in the manner specified in current law when registering another motor vehicle; and
  • The department shall approve any application for personalized license plates received from an individual who wishes to retain the same combination of letters or numbers displayed on the individual's expired license plates and who has surrendered the expired plates to the department unless the department determines that the combination is misleading or duplicates another registration number or that, due to evolving social mores, the combination, despite having previously been issued, carries connotations offensive to good taste or decency; and
  • Any resulting incremental costs of producing and distributing additional new license plates are excluded from the calculation of the amount necessary to recover the costs of license plate, decal, and validating tab production, and distribution that is used to annually establish the amount of the fee charged to cover those costs.

The bill also appropriates $9,000 from the Colorado DRIVES vehicle services account in the highway users tax fund to the department for DRIVES maintenance and support needed to implement the bill.

Class C personal property includes passenger cars, noncommercial light trucks, and motorcycles. The bill does not apply to the transfer or assignment of an owner's interest in Class C personal property that is a horseless carriage.

On and after January 1, 2021, the bill also requires each type of license plate that is not a group special license plate and that, as of January 1, 2020, had a color scheme of dark green letters and numbers on a background of white mountains and a dark green sky to be manufactured to have a color scheme of white letters and numbers on a background of dark green mountains and a white sky. The department of revenue must exhaust its stock of license plates with the old color scheme before issuing license plates with the new color scheme.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text