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Lots of changes for Florida's specialty license plates

A proposal that would change the state’s specialty license-plate program — and make Blue Angels plates available for motorcycles — is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Senate voted 38-0 on Wednesday to concur with the House on a bill (SB 364) that includes providing two additional years for backers of proposed license plates to reach a pre-sales requirement.

Senate sponsor Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said the extension is needed because the coronavirus pandemic hindered sales. “If we do not do this, there'll be approximately 30-some-odd plates that will perish Into thin air because they did not make the minimum sales quota going forward,” Bean said.

While 123 specialty plates are currently available, the bill would cut the maximum number of plate designs at any one time from 150 to 135, while restarting a 24-month clock on plates on the pre-sale list.

The proposal also would direct the development of the following potential license plates: Inter Miami CF, Safe Haven for Newborns, Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research, Learn to Fly, Florida Swims, Down Syndrome Awareness, Gopher Tortoise and Take Stock in Children.

Since the Legislature made changes in 2020, specialty plates for the Blue Angels, Coastal Conservation and Walt Disney World have met new requirements. This year’s bill would expand the Blue Angels plate to be available for motorcycles.

The Blue Angels first flew June 15, 1946, at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the squadron's first home base.

The bill would maintain the pre-sale total for most plates to reach and remain on the road at 3,000. The Senate had initially pushed to cut the pre-sale benchmark to 2,500.

Also, the proposal would reduce the pre-sale benchmark from 4,000 to 3,000 for plates for Auburn University, the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

As of Wednesday, the Auburn plate was the closest of the three out-of-state schools to the new goal line, with presales at 2,107. The Alabama tag had reached 1,414 presales while the Georgia plate was at 441.