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SENATE BILL NO. 156
INTRODUCED BY M. SPRAGUE
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT REVISING THE COUNTY NUMBERING ON LICENSE PLATES TO REFLECT THE 2000 CENSUS; AMENDING SECTION 61-3-332, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND AN APPLICABILITY DATE."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. 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, and the department shall manufacture the newly designed number plates for issuance after January 1, 2002, to replace at renewal, as required in 61-3-312 and 61-3-314, number plates that were displayed on motor vehicles before that date.
(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 number of the county and 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 department shall
determine the horizontal order in which the county number and the distinctive registration number appear on the plate. 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 the department shall assign a number to each county of the state in accordance with the
county's population as determined by the 2000 census, with the most populous county being assigned the number "1". The
department shall review the results of the census every 30 years and adjust the county numbering system accordingly.
(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.
(e) Except as provided in subsection (10)(c), 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 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 (10)(c), 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."
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1999.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Applicability. [This act] applies to the registration of motor vehicles and the display of license plates issued after December 31, 2001.
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Latest Version of SB 156 (SB0156.01)
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