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BMV Halts Negotiations on Specialty Plates

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Three Indiana groups whose specialty license plates were suspended last year have been told negotiations to recover them are off.

The organizations lost their plates after complaints from members of the General Assembly.

A group of conservative lawmakers last year originally sought to pass a law stripping the Indiana Youth Group, a support organization for gay teens, of its specialty license plates before urging the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to do so.  Because IYG and two other groups – the Indiana Greenways and 4H Foundations – gave away plates to donors, the BMV suspended them. 

The groups were in negotiations with the BMV in recent months to get the plates back until the state agency cut off the talks last week. 

IYG Executive Director Mary Byrne says her group had been working through an administrative appeals process before the BMV came to them six months ago to work out a deal.

“We had felt like we were going to have this plate back,” Byrne said. “We had money for a certain number of plates to be sold in our budget and we’ve lost six months in the process.  So we’re blown away. This completely came out of the blue.”

In a statement, the BMV says a recent law passed by the General Assembly establishing a new procedure for specialty plate applications prompted its actions. 

The groups now have two options: an administrative appeals process or applying for their plates again under the new law.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.