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HOUSE BILL NO. 231
INTRODUCED BY J. WITT
AN ACT EXEMPTING EX-PRISONERS OF WAR FROM THE LIGHT VEHICLE TAX, THE VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEE, AND THE FEE ASSOCIATED WITH SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES; ALLOWING THE SURVIVING SPOUSE OF AN EX-PRISONER OF WAR TO RETAIN THE PLATES UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 61-3-321, 61-3-332, 61-3-426, AND 61-3-504, MCA.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 61-3-321, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-3-321. Registration fees of vehicles --
public-owned certain vehicles exempt from license or registration fees
-- disposition of fees. (1) Registration or license fees must be paid upon registration or reregistration of motor vehicles,
trailers, housetrailers, and semitrailers, in accordance with this chapter, as follows:
(a) motor vehicles weighing 2,850 pounds or under (other than motortrucks), $5;
(b) motor vehicles weighing over 2,850 pounds (other than motortrucks), $10;
(c) electrically driven passenger vehicles, $10;
(d) all motorcycles and quadricycles, $2;
(e) tractors or trucks, $10;
(f) buses, which are classed as motortrucks, licensed accordingly;
(g) trailers and semitrailers less than 2,500 pounds declared weight and housetrailers of all weights, $2;
(h) trailers and semitrailers over 2,500 up to 6,000 pounds declared weight (except housetrailers), $5;
(i) trailers and semitrailers over 6,000 pounds declared weight, $10, except trailers and semitrailers registered in other jurisdictions through a proportional registration agreement;
(j) trailers used exclusively in the transportation of logs in the forest or in the transportation of oil and gas well machinery, road machinery, or bridge materials, new and secondhand, $15 annually, regardless of size or capacity.
(2) All rates are 25% higher for motor vehicles, trailers, and semitrailers that are not equipped with pneumatic tires.
(3) "Tractor", as specified in this section, means any motor vehicle, except a passenger car, that is used for towing a trailer or semitrailer.
(4) If a motor vehicle, housetrailer, trailer, or semitrailer is originally registered 6 months after the time of registration as set by law, the registration or license fee for the remainder of the year is one-half of the regular fee except for trailers or semitrailers registered as provided in 61-3-721(6).
(5) An additional fee of $5.25 a year for each registration of a vehicle, except trailers and semitrailers registered in other jurisdictions and registered through a proportional registration agreement, must be collected as a registration fee. Revenue from this fee must be forwarded by the respective county treasurers to the state treasurer for deposit in the general fund. The department shall pay an amount equal to 25 cents from each motor vehicle registration fee from the general fund to the pension trust fund for payment of supplemental benefits provided for in 19-6-709.
(6) A fee of $2 for each set of new number plates must be collected when number plates provided for under 61-3-332(3) are issued. Revenue from this fee must be deposited as provided in subsection (5).
(7) The provisions of this part with respect to the payment of registration fees do not apply to and are not binding upon motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or tractors owned or controlled by the United States of America or any state, county, city, or special district, as defined in 18-8-202.
(8) The provisions of this section relating to the payment of registration fees or new number plate fees do not apply when number plates are transferred to a replacement vehicle under 61-3-317, 61-3-332, or 61-3-335.
(9) A person qualifying under 61-3-332(10)(d) or [section 4] is exempt from the fees required under subsections (1) and (5). (See compiler's comments for contingent termination of certain text.)"
Section 2. Section 61-3-332, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-3-332. Number plates. (1) A motor vehicle that is driven upon the streets or highways of Montana must display both front and rear number plates, bearing the distinctive number assigned to the vehicle. The number plates are in 10 series: one series for owners of motorcars, one for owners of motor vehicles of the motorcycle or quadricycle type, one for trailers, one for trucks, one for dealers in vehicles of the motorcycle or quadricycle type that bear the distinctive letters "MCD" or the letters "MC" and the word "DEALER", one for franchised dealers in new motorcars (including trucks and trailers) or new and used motorcars (including trucks and trailers) that bear the distinctive letter "D" or the word "DEALER", one for dealers in used motorcars only (including used trucks and trailers) that bear the distinctive letters "UD" or the letter "U" and the word "DEALER", one for dealers in trailers and/or semitrailers (new or used) that bear the distinctive letters "DTR" or the letters "TR" and the word "DEALER", one for dealers in recreational vehicles that bear the distinctive letters "RV" or the letter "R" and the word "DEALER", and one for special license plates. All markings for the various kinds of dealers' plates must be placed on the number plates assigned to the dealer, in the position that the department designates.
(2) All number plates for motor vehicles must be issued for a minimum period of 4 years, bear a distinctive marking, and be furnished by the state. In years when number plates are not issued, the department shall provide nonremovable stickers bearing appropriate registration numbers that must be affixed to the license plates in use.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this section, the department shall create a new design for number plates as provided in this section.
(4) In the case of motorcars and trucks, plates must be of metal 6 inches wide and 12 inches in length. The outline of the state of Montana must be used as a distinctive border on the license plates, and the word "Montana" and the year must be placed across the plates. Registration plates must be treated with a reflectorized background material according to specifications prescribed by the department.
(5) The distinctive registration numbers must begin with a number one or with a letter-number combination, such as "A 1" or "AA 1", or any other similar combination of letters and numbers. The distinctive registration number or letter-number combination assigned to the vehicle must appear on the plate preceded by the number of the county and appearing in horizontal order on the same horizontal baseline. The county number must be separated from the distinctive registration number by a separation mark unless a letter-number combination is used. The dimensions of the numerals and letters must be determined by the department, and all county and registration numbers must be of equal height.
(6) For the use of tax-exempt motor vehicles, in addition to the markings provided in this section, number plates must bear the following distinctive markings:
(a) For vehicles owned by the state, the department may designate the prefix number for the various state departments. All numbered plates issued to state departments must bear the words "State Owned", and a year number may not be indicated on the plates because these numbered plates are of a permanent nature and will be replaced by the department only when the physical condition of numbered plates requires it.
(b) For vehicles that are owned by the counties, municipalities, and special districts, as defined in 18-8-202, organized under the laws of Montana and not operating for profit, and that are used and operated by officials and employees in the line of duty and for vehicles on loan from the United States government or the state of Montana to, or owned by, the civil air patrol and used and operated by officials and employees in the line of duty, there must be placed on the number plates assigned, in a position that the department may designate, the letter "X" or the word "EXEMPT". Distinctive registration numbers for plates assigned to motor vehicles of each of the counties in the state and those of the municipalities and special districts that obtain plates within each county must begin with number one and be numbered consecutively. Because these number plates are of a permanent nature, they are subject to replacement by the department only when the physical condition of the number plates requires it and a year number may not be displayed on the number plates.
(7) On all number plates assigned to motor vehicles of the truck and trailer type, other than tax-exempt trucks and tax-exempt trailers, there must appear the letter "T" or the word "TRUCK" on plates assigned to trucks and the letters "TR" or the word "TRAILER" on plates assigned to trailers and housetrailers. The letters "MC" or the word "CYCLE" must appear on plates assigned to vehicles of the motorcycle or quadricycle type.
(8) Number plates issued to a passenger car, truck, trailer, or vehicle of the motorcycle or quadricycle type may be transferred only to a replacement passenger car, truck, trailer, or motorcycle- or quadricycle-type vehicle. A registration or license fee may not be assessed upon a transfer of a number plate under 61-3-317 and 61-3-335.
(9) For the purpose of this chapter, the several counties of the state are assigned numbers as follows: Silver Bow, 1; Cascade, 2; Yellowstone, 3; Missoula, 4; Lewis and Clark, 5; Gallatin, 6; Flathead, 7; Fergus, 8; Powder River, 9; Carbon, 10; Phillips, 11; Hill, 12; Ravalli, 13; Custer, 14; Lake, 15; Dawson, 16; Roosevelt, 17; Beaverhead, 18; Chouteau, 19; Valley, 20; Toole, 21; Big Horn, 22; Musselshell, 23; Blaine, 24; Madison, 25; Pondera, 26; Richland, 27; Powell, 28; Rosebud, 29; Deer Lodge, 30; Teton, 31; Stillwater, 32; Treasure, 33; Sheridan, 34; Sanders, 35; Judith Basin, 36; Daniels, 37; Glacier, 38; Fallon, 39; Sweet Grass, 40; McCone, 41; Carter, 42; Broadwater, 43; Wheatland, 44; Prairie, 45; Granite, 46; Meagher, 47; Liberty, 48; Park, 49; Garfield, 50; Jefferson, 51; Wibaux, 52; Golden Valley, 53; Mineral, 54; Petroleum, 55; Lincoln, 56. Any new counties must be assigned numbers by the department as they may be formed, beginning with the number 57.
(10) Each type of special license plate approved by the legislature, except collegiate license plates authorized in 61-3-463, must be a separate series of plates, numbered as provided in subsection (5), except that the county number must be replaced by a nonremovable design or decal designating the group or organization to which the applicant belongs. Unless otherwise specifically stated in this section, the special plates are subject to the same rules and laws as govern the issuance of regular license plates, must be placed or mounted on a vehicle owned by the person who is eligible to receive them, and must be removed upon sale or other disposition of the vehicle. The special license plates must be issued to national guard members, former prisoners of war, persons with disabilities, reservists, disabled veterans, survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack, veterans of the armed services, or veterans of the armed services who were awarded the purple heart medal, who comply with the following provisions:
(a) An active member of the Montana national guard may be issued special license plates with a design or decal displaying the letters "NG". The adjutant general shall issue to each active member of the Montana national guard a certificate authorizing the department to issue national guard plates, numbered in sets of two with a different number on each set, and the member shall surrender the plates to the department upon becoming ineligible to use them.
(b) An active member of the reserve armed forces of the United States of America who is a resident of this state may be issued special license plates with a design or decal displaying the following: United States army reserve, AR (symbol); United States naval reserve, NR (anchor); United States air force reserve, AFR (symbol); and United States marine corps reserve, MCR (globe and anchor). The commanding officer of each armed forces reserve unit shall issue to each eligible member of the reserve unit a certificate authorizing the issuance of special license plates, numbered in sets of two with a different number on each set. The member shall surrender the plates to the department upon becoming ineligible to use them.
(c) (i) A resident of Montana who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States and who is 100% disabled because of an injury that has been determined by the department of veterans affairs to be service-connected may, upon presentation to the department of proof of the 100% disability, be issued:
(A) a special license plate under this section with a design or decal displaying the letters "DV"; or
(B) one set of any other military-related plates that the disabled veteran is eligible to receive under this section.
(ii) The fee for original or renewal registration by a 100% disabled veteran for a passenger vehicle or a truck with a GVW-rated capacity of 1 ton or less is $5 and is in lieu of all other fees and taxes for that vehicle under this chapter.
(iii) Special license plates issued to a disabled veteran are not transferable to another person.
(iv) A disabled veteran is not entitled to a special disabled veteran's license plate for more than one vehicle.
(v) A vehicle lawfully displaying a disabled veteran's plate and that is conveying a 100% disabled veteran is entitled to the parking privileges allowed a person with a disability's vehicle under this title.
(d) A Montana resident who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States and was captured and held prisoner by a military force of a foreign nation, documented by the veteran's service record, may upon application and presentation of proof be issued special license plates, numbered in sets of two with a different number on each set, with a design or decal displaying the words "ex-prisoner of war" or an abbreviation that the department considers appropriate.
(i) Fees required under 61-3-321(1) and (5) may not be assessed upon one set of license plates issued to an ex-prisoner of war under this subsection (10)(d).
(ii) A special license plate fee may not be assessed upon one set of special license plates issued to an ex-prisoner of war under this subsection (10)(d).
(iii) An ex-prisoner of war is exempt from the light vehicle taxes imposed under 61-3-504 for one vehicle that displays a set of ex-prisoner of war license plates.
(iv) A surviving spouse of an ex-prisoner of war may retain the special license plates that have been issued to the ex-prisoner of war if the spouse complies with the provisions of [section 4].
(e) Except as provided in
subsection subsections (10)(c) and (10)(d), upon payment of all taxes and fees required by
parts 3 and 5 of this chapter and upon furnishing proof satisfactory to the department that the applicant meets the
requirements of this subsection (10)(e), the department shall issue to a Montana resident who is a veteran of the armed
services of the United States special license plates, numbered in sets of two with a different number on each set, designed to
indicate that the applicant is a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack if the applicant was a member of the United States armed
forces on December 7, 1941, was on station on December 7, 1941, during the hours of 7:55 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. (Hawaii time)
at Pearl Harbor, the island of Oahu, or offshore at a distance of not more than 3 miles, and received an honorable discharge
from the United States armed forces. If special license plates issued under subsection (10)(d) and this subsection are lost,
stolen, or mutilated, the recipient of the plates is entitled to replacement plates upon request and without charge.
(f) A motor vehicle owner and resident of this state who is a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran of the armed services of the United States may be issued license plates inscribed as provided in subsection (10)(f)(i) if the veteran was separated from the armed services under other than dishonorable circumstances or was awarded the purple heart medal:
(i) Upon submission of a department of defense form 214(DD-214) or its successor or documents showing an other-than-dishonorable discharge or a reenlistment, proper identification, and other relevant documents to show an applicant's qualification under this subsection, there must be issued to the applicant, in lieu of the regular license plates prescribed by law, special license plates numbered in sets of two with a different number on each set. The plates must display:
(A) the word "VETERAN" and a symbol signifying the United States army, United States navy, United States air force, United States marine corps, or United States coast guard, according to the record of service verified in the application; or
(B) a symbol representing the purple heart medal.
(ii) Plates must be furnished by the department to the county treasurer, who shall issue them to a qualified veteran or to the veteran's surviving spouse. The plates must be placed or mounted on the vehicle owned by the veteran or the veteran's surviving spouse designated in the application and must be removed upon sale or other disposition of the vehicle.
(iii) Except as provided in
subsection subsections (10)(c) and (10)(d), a veteran or surviving spouse who receives special
license plates under this subsection (10)(f) is liable for payment of all taxes and fees required under parts 3 and 4 of this
chapter and a special veteran's or purple heart medal license plate fee of $10. Upon an original application for a license under
this subsection (10)(f), the county treasurer shall:
(A) deposit $3 of the special fee in the county general fund;
(B) remit $1 for deposit in the state general fund; and
(C) deposit the remainder of the special fee in the state special revenue account established in 10-2-603 for administration, construction, operation, and maintenance of the state veterans' cemeteries.
(iv) Upon subsequent annual renewal of registration, the county treasurer shall deposit all of the special fee as provided in subsection (10)(f)(iii)(C).
(g) A Montana resident who is eligible to receive a special parking permit under 49-4-301 may, upon written application on a form prescribed by the department, be issued a special license plate with a design or decal bearing a representation of a wheelchair as the symbol of a person with a disability.
(11) The provisions of this section do not apply to a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer that is registered as part of a fleet, as defined in 61-3-712, and that is subject to the provisions of 61-3-711 through 61-3-733."
Section 3. Section 61-3-426, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-3-426. Combined license plates. (1) An application for license plates for amateur radio operators may be combined with an application for the special license plates issued to veterans of the armed services who comply with the provisions in 61-3-332(10)(d), (10)(e), and (10)(f) or with an application for special license plates issued to a person with a disability who complies with the provisions in 61-3-332(10)(g). The applicant for the combined license plates is liable for the payment of all taxes and fees applicable to regular motor vehicle license plates and shall pay an additional fee of $5 for the original issuance as provided in 61-3-422.
(2) An application for license plates for amateur radio operators may be combined with an application for license plates for disabled veterans as provided in 61-3-332(10)(c). The fees for the registration of the combined license plates are the fees provided for in 61-3-332(10)(c) and in 61-3-422. The fees are in lieu of all other fees and taxes for that vehicle under this chapter.
(3) An application for license plates for amateur radio operators may be combined with an application for license plates for ex-prisoners of war as provided in 61-3-332(10)(d). The fees required under 61-3-321(1) and (5) may not be assessed upon one set of combination license plates issued to an ex-prisoner of war. An ex-prisoner of war receiving combination license plates under this section is liable for the fees required under 61-3-422.
(3)(4) The combined license plates must be stamped with the official amateur radio call letters of the owner as assigned
to the owner by the federal communications commission. The plates must also be stamped with the design or decal provided
for in 61-3-332(10)(c), (10)(d), (10)(e), (10)(f), or (10)(g)."
Section 4. Section 61-3-504, MCA, is amended to read:
"61-3-504. Computation of tax. (1) The amount of taxes on a light vehicle, except
for vehicles registered under
61-3-456 or owned by disabled veterans qualifying for special license plates under 61-3-332(10)(c) or 61-3-426(2) as
provided in subsection (2), is 2% of the value determined under 61-3-503.
(2) The following are exempt from taxation under subsection (1):
(a) a vehicle registered under 61-3-456;
(b) a vehicle owned by a disabled veteran qualifying for one set of special license plates under 61-3-332(10)(c) or 61-3-426; and
(c) a vehicle owned by an ex-prisoner of war under 61-3-332(10)(d) or a surviving spouse of an ex-prisoner of war under [section 5].
(2)(3) The amount of tax on fleet vehicles subject to the provisions of 61-3-318 is 1% of the value determined under
Section 5. Ex-prisoner of war license plates transferable to spouse -- conditions. Upon the death of an ex-prisoner of war and providing that the surviving spouse does not remarry, the spouse of an ex-prisoner of war may retain and renew the one set of special license plates issued under 61-3-332(10)(d) and is not liable for light vehicle taxes under 61-3-504, for the fees required under 61-3-321(1) and (5), or for the special license plate fees required under 61-3-332.
Section 6. Codification instruction. [Section 5] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 61, chapter 3, part 4, and the provisions of Title 61, chapter 3, part 4, apply to [section 5].
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