CHAPTER NO. 1123

SENATE BILL NO. 1651

By Williams, Harper

Substituted for: House Bill No. 1392

By Cross, Ridgeway, Ferguson, Garrett, Robinson, Brenda Turner, Goins

AN ACT To amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 55, Chapter 4, to authorize the issuance of special license plates for members of the clergy.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:

SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 55-4-202(c)(3), is amended by adding a new item thereto, as follows:

( ) Members of the clergy;

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 55-4-203, is amended by adding a new item thereto, as follows:

( ) Members of the clergy -- twenty-five dollars ($25.00);

SECTION 3. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 55, Chapter 4, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

(a) Members of the clergy who are owners or lessees of motor vehicles and who are residents of Tennessee, upon complying with state motor vehicle laws relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles, and paying the regular fee applicable to motor vehicles and the fee provided for in Section 55-4-203, shall be issued a special license plate authorized by this section, either for an automobile, recreational vehicle or a truck of one-half (1/2) or three-quarter (3/4) ton rating.

(b) The special plates provided for in this section shall be issued in conformity with the provisions of Section 55-4-202, and shall be of an appropriate design to designate the eligible person as a member of the clergy without specifically representing any faith. The special plates shall include a unique identifying number, whereby the total characters do not exceed the sum of six (6); provided, that no two (2) recipients shall receive identical plates.

(c)(1) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to mean that any eligible person shall be prevented from exchanging a regular type plate for one (1) of special design; provided, that the fees prescribed under Section 55-4-203 are paid.

(2) The whole or parts of the fee for a special registration plate shall not be refunded for the exchange of a regular plate.

(d) Additional special license plates may be obtained by any eligible person upon payment of the regular license fee for plates, as prescribed under Section 55-4-111, plus the payment of the fee prescribed in Section 55-4-203.

(e)(1) Special plates issued pursuant to this section may be transferred to another vehicle of the same weight class owned or leased by the same person upon proper application being made therefor and approved by the Department of Safety.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to whom such plates have been issued to knowingly permit them to be displayed on any vehicle, except such as authorized by the department.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, for the first fiscal year in which such special license plates are issued and after deducting the expense the state has incurred in designing and manufacturing such plates, funds derived from the sale of license plates of the first one thousand (1,000) such plates issued pursuant to this section shall be distributed as provided in 55-6-107 and funds derived from the sale of such license plates in excess of one thousand (1,000) shall be distributed as otherwise provided in this section. For succeeding fiscal years, all funds derived from the renewal of the plates described in this section or from any new issues of such plates, less any expense the state has incurred in designing and manufacturing such plates, shall be distributed as earmarked in this section with no further payments going to the highway fund or the general fund from such plates.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 55-4-201(b)(1)(B), the special license plates authorized by this section shall be issued subject to the following requirements:

(1) A minimum order of at least five hundred (500) plates.

(2) If the plates authorized by this section have not qualified for initial issuance by July 1, 2000, such plates shall not be issued and the Commissioner of Safety shall notify the Tennessee code commission that this section of Tennessee Code Annotated authorizing the issuance of such plates is, on the basis of such inactivity, to be deemed obsolete and invalid.

(h) The provisions of subsection (g) shall apply equally to the renewal of the special license plates issued pursuant to this section; provided, however, if such plates fail to meet the minimum requirements of subsection (g) for two (2) successive renewal periods after the initial issuance of such plates, such plates shall not be reissued or renewed, and the Commissioner of Safety shall notify the Tennessee Code Commission that this section of Tennessee Code Annotated authorizing the issuance of such plates is, on the basis of such inactivity, to be deemed obsolete and invalid.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 1998, the public welfare requiring it.

PASSED:

May 1, 1998

APPROVED this day of 1998

Pursuant to Article III, Section 18, of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, the Governor had Senate Bill No. 1651 in his possession longer than ten (10) days, so therefore the bill becomes law without the Governor's signature.