House Transportation Cmte. Holds Hearing on License Plate Bills
Harrisburg, PA (WENY)-- Pennsylvania’s House Transportation Committee held a public hearing Tuesday afternoon regarding two Bills the committee is considering. Both pieces of legislation involve your license plate. House Bill 317 would regulate automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs, and House Bill 1509 would create a new 2-in-1 license plate sticker to prove a car’s inspection and registration.
Automatic License Plate Readers are used by law enforcement to read every visible license plate, then check them against PennDOT and law enforcement records. This is to see if the car or driver has any violations. House Bill 317, introduced by Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) would define who can use ALPRs, how the data can be collected, and how long it can be stored. There was quite a bit of support for this Bill from those in attendance at the hearing.
“We think this is a step in the right direction to allow law enforcement for them to understand what the parameters are and to set circumstances by which these devices can be used and the restrictions on when they can’t be used,” says Stephen Wheeler, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Authority.
“Enactment of House Bill 317 would be a progressive step towards a uniform system for law enforcement to utilize ALPRs,” explains Major Douglas Burig with the New York State Police.
The registration sticker on PA license plates was eliminated a few years ago. House Bill 1509, proposes a 2-in-1 sticker that would go back on the license plate that proves a cars registration and inspection. The Bill was introduced by Rep. Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks). Rep. Jozwiak says since registration stickers were taken off license plates a couple of years ago, law enforcement’s jobs to try to identify and stop unregistered vehicles has gotten tougher. He says by placing this sticker back on the license plate, it will make it easier for police, and Wheeler agrees.
“We believe that the sticker on the license plate is helpful to law enforcement. It gives them that visual clue that allows them to make a decision on whether or not they should stop that vehicle, and then be able to conduct a follow up to determine the status of that vehicle, says Wheeler.
The Pennsylvania State Police, though, says they can’t support the Bill.
“There are scenarios in which provisions contained in this Bill could lead to fraudulent registration of vehicles, or to theft of stickers. It is for these reasons that the Pennsylvania State Police is opposed to House Bill 1509,” says Major James Basinger of the Pennsylvania State Police. “House Bill 1509 would create a complete reversal of our current registration and inspection procedures, and burden the commonwealths vehicle owners by restricting their ability to efficiently renew their registration online,” he adds.
We now wait to see if the House Transportation Committee will move one or both of these Bills back to the floor when the legislature reconvenes in late September.
You can learn more about House Bill 317 here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2019&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=317
You can learn more about House Bill 1590 here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us//cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=29023