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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State hits the brakes on license plate redesign



Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet didn't give the go-ahead for a redesign of Florida's familiar license plate on Tuesday. The state's highway safety chief, Col. Julie Jones, pulled the item off the agenda, saying it needs more work.

But she emphasized that she does plan to submit the proposal to the statewide elected officials before the end of the year, and that motorists can vote for their favorite design online, and she will also seek proposals from vendors who want to distribute tags to people who order them online or by mail.

Jones wants $24 million to launch a redesigned tag that will be flat, with no raised or embossed digits or letters. A study by her agency said the  existing tag is difficult to read by cameras at intersections and toll booths, and as a result many non-toll paying scofflaws go free. 

Jones told reporters she did not anticipate the ferocity of opposition to parts of the plan by elected county tax collectors around the state. She said the decision to defer action was hers -- not Scott's or the Cabinet members -- but Attorney General Pam Bondi said Jones was right to hold off on the redesign.

"I'm glad she pulled it back. We're not ready for a final decision," Bondi said. "I think a lot more needs to be discussed by all the parties."

Bondi's hometown tax collector, Hillsborough County's Doug Belden, has been trying for weeks to derail the license tag redesign.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2:31pm]


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