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State senate bill adds 21 new specialty plates to the 269 already offered in Ohio

UPDATE:

Ohioans will have an even larger number of specialty license plates to choose from under a bill that will be sent to Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday added 21 new specialty license plates to the 269 already available to Ohio drivers.

The Senate concurred with changes to a larger bill on state highway names and Wednesday’s vote means the bill goes to Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

The newest plates include ones benefiting the Lions Club, Nationwide Children’s cancer research, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuse and a variety of schools and other organizations.

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ORIGINAL STORY

Do you want to broadcast to the world your love for wildlife or amateur radio? Corvettes? Smokey Bear? Superman? The Cincinnati Reds?

What better way to be seen than your license plate.

Ohio has a specialty license plate for just about anything you might want to support if you are willing to pony up some extra cash when you renew your plates each year. There are also a variety of no-cost specialty plates for the military, people with disabilities, transport companies and government or publicly-owned entities.

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There are 269 specialty plates in Ohio, the vast majority supporting organizations.

Motorists pay extra fees for most organization, pro-sports and collegiate plates. The fees vary and go as high as $50. For instance a collegiate plate, such as one for the University of Dayton, costs $25 on top of the regular cost of license plates and an extra Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) fee. The ubiquitous cardinal plate supporting wildlife costs $15.

The specialty plate fees are paid annually even if the motorist is just renewing with stickers.

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But not all organization specialty plates include a fee beyond the BMV fee. For example there is no extra charge for the One Nation Under God, Professional Firefighters or Phi Beta Sigma plates

Other types of specialty plates are also free, including those for disabilities and the 95 military license plates, which honor service in specific branches of the military or specific wars and conflicts as well as medals awarded for valor.

Organizations wanting to have a specialty plate, which nets revenue for their cause, must have 150 signatures from people intending to purchase the plate. Approval by the state legislature is also needed for specialty plates. Each year organizations must have at least 25 plate sales or the plate won’t be issued, according to the BMV.

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Lindsey Bohrer, spokeswoman for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said organizations netted more than $3 million from the specialty plate fees in fiscal year 2017, which ended June 31, The Bureau of Motor Vehicles gets an extra $10 for organization specialty plates, a fee that generated $2.2 million in fiscal 2017, she said.

“The production cost for a pair of large embossed (regular) plates is $2.41. The production cost for a pair of large flat (specialty) plates is $5.89,” Bohrer said in an email.

Many of the organizations fight certain illnesses, such as cancer, and a variety of them help schools, Greek organizations, groups like the American Red Cross, or seek to preserve wildlife, forests and more.

Sports plates are only for Ohio teams, so if you are a Chicago Cubs fan you are out of luck.

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