House votes to ease plate-frame fines

by Amy B Wang - Jun. 24, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Don't dust off your alma mater's license-plate frame just yet.
House lawmakers Tuesday voted to reduce penalties against drivers whose license-plate frames touch or cover the word "Arizona."
Under the new bill, the fine drops to $30 for a first violation and $100 for a second violation within a year. Drivers would receive a civil offense, and would not incur points on their licenses or insurance-rate hikes for the non-moving violation.
It passed 54-0 without debate.
The original bill, which passed in 2006 and took effect Jan. 1, carries an average fine of $135. In addition, it allows officers to pull over drivers and to search cars without probable cause.
The current law alsoleaves the definition of "touching" to the discretion of individual police officers, according to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford. Did one-sixteenth of an inch count? What about a shadow?
"We've solved the problem by changing what the penalty is," he said.
"I wanted it all eliminated, but this is the best we could do."