TITLE 43. TRANSPORTATION

PART 10. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

CHAPTER 217. VEHICLE TITLES AND REGISTRATION

SUBCHAPTER B. MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION

43 TAC §§217.43, 217.45, 217.46

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (department) proposes amendments to Chapter 217, Vehicle Titles and Registration, Subchapter B, Motor Vehicle Registration, §217.43, Military Specialty License Plates, §217.45, Specialty License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices, and §217.46, Commercial Vehicle Registration.

EXPLANATION OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

Amendments are proposed to stagger license plate expiration dates to coincide with programming changes to the department's Registration and Title System (RTS).

Proposed amendments to §217.43 delete the March 31 expiration date for Congressional Medal of Honor license plates and make the registration period for all military specialty license plates valid for 12 months from the month of issuance.

Proposed amendments to §217.45 add "Fertilizer" to the list of specialty license plates for which the vehicle is issued one plate. "Golf Cart" and "Package Delivery" are added to the categories of plates for which personalized plates are not available and that are non-transferable between vehicles. Also, amendments delete the March expiration date for Cotton Vehicle and Disaster Relief Plates, the June expiration date for Honorary Consul license plates, and the September expiration date for Log Loader license plates. With these amendments, the length of validation for these license plates will be 12 months from the month of issuance.

Other proposed amendments to §217.45(d)(2) delete the language regarding a five-year registration period for Antique Vehicles, Antique Motorcycle license plates, Antique tabs, and registration numbers; the seven year registration period for Foreign Organization license plates and registration numbers; and the December expiration dates for certain United States and state officials and federal, state, and county judges as this language is duplicative of statute and unnecessary for the rule. The proposed amendments add references to the statutory citations for those plates and registration periods.

A proposed amendment also deletes the requirement that State Official license plates for members of the Railroad Commission are assigned first to the presiding officer followed by the remaining members based on their seniority and adds that the license plate fee for a package delivery license plate is to be paid on an annual basis.

Proposed amendments to §217.46 delete the March expiration for City Bus license plates, combination license plates unless the vehicle with a combination license plate is part of a fleet under §217.54, and Motor Bus license plates. Also, proposed amendments hyphenate truck-tractor to be consistent with statute. An amendment also corrects a grammatical error in the rule.

FISCAL NOTE

Linda M. Flores, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each of the first five years the amendments as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendments.

Jeremiah Kuntz, Director of the Title and Registration Division, has determined that there will be no impact on local economies or overall employment as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendments.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST

Mr. Kuntz has also determined that for each year of the first five years the amendments are in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the amendments will be convenience for specialty license plate owners regarding plate expiration dates and consistency with statute. There are no anticipated economic costs for persons required to comply with the proposed amendments. There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The department has determined that this proposal affects no private real property interests and that this proposal does not restrict or limit an owner's right to property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action, and so does not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under Government Code, §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

The department has determined that during the first five years the proposed amendments are in effect, no government program would be created or eliminated. Implementation of the proposed amendments would not require the creation of new employee positions or elimination of existing employee positions. Implementation would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the department or an increase or decrease of fees paid to the department. Additionally, the proposed amendments do not create a new regulation, or expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation. The proposed amendment does not affect the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability and will not affect this state's economy.

SUBMITTAL OF COMMENTS

Written comments on the proposed amendments may be submitted to David D. Duncan, General Counsel, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, 4000 Jackson Avenue, Austin, Texas 78731 or by email to rules@txdmv.gov. The deadline for receipt of comments is 5:00 p.m. on January 2, 2018.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are proposed under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (board) with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department under the Transportation Code; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §504.0011, which authorizes the board to adopt rules to implement and administer Transportation Code, Chapter 504, and Transportation Code, §502.0021, which authorizes the department to adopt rules to administer Transportation Code, Chapter 502, Registration of Vehicles.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, Chapters 502 and 504.

§217.43.Military Specialty License Plates.

(a) Purpose and Scope. Transportation Code, Chapter 504 authorizes the department to issue military specialty license plates. This section prescribes the policies and procedures for the application, issuance, and renewal of military specialty license plates.

(b) Classification and fees. The department will issue specialty plates for the military and charge fees as authorized by Transportation Code, §504.202 and Chapter 504, Subchapter D.

(c) Application. Applications for military specialty license plates must be made to the department and include evidence of eligibility. The evidence of eligibility may include, but is not limited to:

(1) an official document issued by a governmental entity;

(2) a letter issued by a governmental entity on that agency's letterhead;

(3) discharge papers;

(4) a death certificate; or

(5) an identification card issued by any branch of the military under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Defense or the United States Department of Homeland Security indicating that the member is retired.

(d) Period. Military specialty license plates shall be valid for 12 months from the month of issuance or for a prorated period of at least 12 months coinciding with the expiration of registration and [The registration for Congressional Medal of Honor license plates expires each March 31. All other specialty plates for the military] may be replaced in accordance with §217.32 of this title (relating to Replacement of License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices).

(e) Assignment and Transfer. Military plates may not be assigned and may only be transferred to another vehicle owned by the same vehicle owner.

(f) Applicability. Section 217.45 of this title (relating to Specialty License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices) applies to military plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices as to:

(1) what is considered one set of plates per vehicle as determined by vehicle type;

(2) issuance of validation tabs and insignia;

(3) stolen or replaced plates;

(4) payment of other applicable fees;

(5) personalization, except that Congressional Medal of Honor plates may not be personalized;

(6) renewal, except that the owner of a vehicle with Congressional Medal of Honor license plates must return the documentation and specialty license plate fee, if any, directly to the department;

(7) refunds; and

(8) expiration.

§217.45.Specialty License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices.

(a) Purpose and Scope. Transportation Code, Chapters 504 and 551 charge the department with providing specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, and other devices. For the department to perform these duties efficiently and effectively, this section prescribes the policies and procedures for the application, issuance, and renewal of specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, and other devices, through the county tax assessor-collectors, and establishes application fees, expiration dates, and registration periods for certain specialty license plates. This section does not apply to military license plates except as provided by §217.43 of this title (relating to Military Specialty License Plates).

(b) Initial application for specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices.

(1) Application Process.

(A) Procedure. An owner of a vehicle registered as specified in this subchapter who wishes to apply for a specialty license plate, symbol, tab, or other device must do so on a form prescribed by the director.

(B) Form requirements. The application form shall at a minimum require the name and complete address of the applicant.

(2) Fees and Documentation.

(A) The application must be accompanied by the prescribed registration fee, unless exempted by statute.

(B) The application must be accompanied by the statutorily prescribed specialty license plate fee. If a registration period is greater than 12 months, the expiration date of a specialty license plate, symbol, tab, or other device will be aligned with the registration period and the specialty plate fee will be adjusted to yield the appropriate fee. If the statutory annual fee for a specialty license plate is $5 or less, it will not be prorated.

(C) Specialty license plate fees will not be refunded after an application is submitted and the department has approved issuance of the license plate.

(D) The application must be accompanied by prescribed local fees or other fees that are collected in conjunction with registering a vehicle, with the exception of vehicles bearing license plates that are exempt by statute from these fees.

(E) The application must include evidence of eligibility for any specialty license plates. The evidence of eligibility may include, but is not limited to:

(i) an official document issued by a governmental entity; or

(ii) a letter issued by a governmental entity on that agency's letterhead.

(F) Initial applications for license plates for display on Exhibition Vehicles must include a photograph of the completed vehicle.

(3) Place of application. Applications for specialty license plates may be made directly to the county tax assessor-collector, except that applications for the following license plates must be made directly to the department:

(A) County Judge;

(B) Federal Administrative Law Judge;

(C) State Judge;

(D) State Official;

(E) U.S. Congress--House;

(F) U.S. Congress--Senate; and

(G) U.S. Judge.

(4) Gift plates.

(A) A person may purchase general distribution specialty license plates as a gift for another person if the purchaser submits an application for the specialty license plates that provides:

(i) the name and address of the person who will receive the plates; and

(ii) the vehicle identification number of the vehicle on which the plates will be displayed.

(B) To be valid for use on a motor vehicle, the recipient of the plates must file an application with the county tax assessor-collector and pay the statutorily required registration fees in the amount as provided by Transportation Code, Chapter 502 and this subchapter.

(c) Initial issuance of specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices.

(1) Issuance. On receipt of a completed initial application for registration, accompanied by the prescribed documentation and fees, the department will issue specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices to be displayed on the vehicle for which the license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices were issued for the current registration period. If the vehicle for which the specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices are issued is currently registered, the owner must surrender the license plates currently displayed on the vehicle, along with the corresponding license receipt, before the specialty license plates may be issued.

(2) Classic Motor Vehicles, Classic Travel Trailers, Custom Vehicles, Street Rods, and Exhibition Vehicles.

(A) License plates. Texas license plates that were issued the same year as the model year of a Classic Motor Vehicle, Travel Trailer, Street Rod, or Exhibition Vehicle may be displayed on that vehicle under Transportation Code, §504.501 and §504.502, unless:

(i) the license plate's original use was restricted by statute to another vehicle type;

(ii) the license plate is a qualifying plate type that originally required the owner to meet one or more eligibility requirements; or

(iii) the alpha numeric pattern is already in use on another vehicle.

(B) Validation stickers and tabs. The department will issue validation stickers and tabs for display on license plates that are displayed as provided by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(3) Number of plates issued.

(A) Two plates. Unless otherwise listed in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, two specialty license plates, each bearing the same license plate number, will be issued per vehicle.

(B) One plate. One license plate will be issued per vehicle for all motorcycles and for the following specialty license plates:

(i) Antique Vehicle (includes Antique Auto, Antique Truck, Antique Motorcycle, and Antique Bus);

(ii) Classic Travel Trailer;

(iii) Rental Trailer;

(iv) Travel Trailer;

(v) Cotton Vehicle;

(vi) Disaster Relief;

(vii) Forestry Vehicle;

(viii) Golf Cart;

(ix) Log Loader;

(x) Military Vehicle; [and]

(xi) Package Delivery Vehicle; and[.]

(xii) Fertilizer.

(C) Registration number. The identification number assigned by the military may be approved as the registration number instead of displaying Military Vehicle license plates on a former military vehicle.

(4) Assignment of plates.

(A) Title holder. Unless otherwise exempted by law or this section, the vehicle on which specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices is to be displayed shall be titled in the name of the person to whom the specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices is assigned, or a title application shall be filed in that person's name at the time the specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices are issued.

(B) Non-owner vehicle. If the vehicle is titled in a name other than that of the applicant, the applicant must provide evidence of having the legal right of possession and control of the vehicle.

(C) Leased vehicle. In the case of a leased vehicle, the applicant must provide a copy of the lease agreement verifying that the applicant currently leases the vehicle.

(5) Classification of neighborhood electric vehicles. The registration classification of a neighborhood electric vehicle, as defined by §217.3(3) of this title (relating to Motor Vehicle Titles) will be determined by whether it is designed as a 4-wheeled truck or a 4-wheeled passenger vehicle.

(6) Number of vehicles. An owner may obtain specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices for an unlimited number of vehicles, unless the statute limits the number of vehicles for which the specialty license plate may be issued.

(7) Personalized plate numbers.

(A) Issuance. The department will issue a personalized license plate number subject to the exceptions set forth in this paragraph.

(B) Character limit. A personalized license plate number may contain no more than six alpha or numeric characters or a combination of characters. Depending upon the specialty license plate design and vehicle class, the number of characters may vary. Spaces, hyphens, periods, hearts, stars, the International Symbol of Access, or silhouettes of the state of Texas may be used in conjunction with the license plate number.

(C) Personalized plates not approved. A personalized license plate number will not be approved by the executive director if the alpha-numeric pattern:

(i) conflicts with the department's current or proposed regular license plate numbering system;

(ii) would violate §217.27 of this title (relating to Vehicle Registration Insignia), as determined by the executive director; or

(iii) is currently issued to another owner.

(D) Classifications of vehicles eligible for personalized plates. Unless otherwise listed in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph, personalized plates are available for all classifications of vehicles.

(E) Categories of plates for which personalized plates are not available. Personalized license plate numbers are not available for display on the following specialty license plates:

(i) Amateur Radio (other than the official call letters of the vehicle owner);

(ii) Antique Motorcycle;

(iii) Antique Vehicle (includes Antique Auto, Antique Truck, and Antique Bus);

(iv) Apportioned;

(v) Cotton Vehicle;

(vi) Disaster Relief;

(vii) Farm Trailer (except Go Texan II);

(viii) Farm Truck (except Go Texan II);

(ix) Farm Truck Tractor (except Go Texan II);

(x) Fertilizer;

(xi) Forestry Vehicle;

(xii) Log Loader;

(xiii) Machinery;

(xiv) Permit;

(xv) Rental Trailer;

(xvi) Soil Conservation; [and]

(xvii) Texas Guard;[.]

(xviii) Golf Cart; and

(xix) Package Delivery Vehicle.

(F) Fee. Unless specified by statute, a personalized license plate fee of $40 will be charged in addition to any prescribed specialty license plate fee.

(G) Priority. Once a personalized license plate number has been assigned to an applicant, the owner shall have priority to that number for succeeding years if a timely renewal application is submitted to the county tax assessor-collector each year in accordance with subsection (d) of this section.

(d) Specialty license plate renewal.

(1) Renewal deadline. If a personalized license plate is not renewed within 60 days after its expiration date, a subsequent renewal application will be treated as an application for new personalized license plates.

(2) Length of validation. Except as provided by Transportation Code, §§504.401, 504.4061, or 504.502, [With the following exceptions,] all specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices shall be valid for 12 months from the month of issuance or for a prorated period of at least 12 months coinciding with the expiration of registration.

[(A) Five-year period. Antique Vehicle (includes Antique Auto, Antique Truck, and Antique Bus) and Antique Motorcycle license plates, Antique tabs, and registration numbers are issued for a five-year period.]

[(B) Seven-year period. Foreign Organization license plates and registration numbers are issued for a seven-year period.]

[(C) March expiration dates. The registration for Cotton Vehicle and Disaster Relief license plates expires each March 31.]

[(D) June expiration dates. The registration for the Honorary Consul license plate expires each June 30.]

[(E) September expiration dates. The registration for the Log Loader license plate expires each September 30.]

[(F) December expiration dates. The registration for the following license plates expires each December 31:]

[(i) County Judge;]

[(ii) Federal Administrative Law Judge;]

[(iii) State Judge;]

[(iv) State Official;]

[(v) U.S. Congress--House;]

[(vi) U.S. Congress--Senate; and]

[(vii) U.S. Judge.]

[(G) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, if a vehicle's registration period is other than 12 months, the expiration date of the specialty license plate, symbol, tab, or other device will be set to align it with the expiration of registration.]

(3) Renewal.

(A) Renewal notice. Approximately 60 days before the expiration date of a specialty license plate, symbol, tab, or other device, the department will send each owner a renewal notice that includes the amount of the specialty plate fee and the registration fee.

(B) Return of notice. The owner must return the fee and any prescribed documentation to the tax assessor-collector of the county in which the owner resides, except that the owner of a vehicle with one of the following license plates must return the documentation and specialty license plate fee, if applicable, directly to the department and submit the registration fee to the county tax assessor-collector:

(i) County Judge;

(ii) Federal Administrative Law Judge;

(iii) State Judge;

(iv) State Official;

(v) U.S. Congress--House;

(vi) U.S. Congress--Senate; and

(vii) U.S. Judge.

(C) Expired plate numbers. The department will retain a specialty license plate number for 60 days after the expiration date of the plates if the plates are not renewed on or before their expiration date. After 60 days the number may be reissued to a new applicant. All specialty license plate renewals received after the expiration of the 60 days will be treated as new applications.

(D) Issuance of validation insignia. On receipt of a completed license plate renewal application and prescribed documentation, the department will issue registration validation insignia as specified in §217.27 unless this section or other law requires the issuance of new license plates to the owner.

(E) Lost or destroyed renewal notices. If a renewal notice is lost, destroyed, or not received by the vehicle owner, the specialty license plates, symbol, tab, or other device may be renewed if the owner provides acceptable personal identification along with the appropriate fees and documentation. Failure to receive the notice does not relieve the owner of the responsibility to renew the vehicle's registration.

(e) Transfer of specialty license plates.

(1) Transfer between vehicles.

(A) Transferable between vehicles. The owner of a vehicle with specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices may transfer the specialty plates between vehicles by filing an application through the county tax assessor-collector if the vehicle to which the plates are transferred:

(i) is titled or leased in the owner's name; and

(ii) meets the vehicle classification requirements for that particular specialty license plate, symbol, tab, or other device.

(B) Non-transferable between vehicles. The following specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices are non-transferable between vehicles:

(i) Antique Vehicle license plates (includes Antique Auto, Antique Truck, and Antique Bus), Antique Motorcycle license plates, and Antique tabs;

(ii) Classic Auto, Classic Truck, Classic Motorcycle, Classic Travel Trailer, Street Rod, and Custom Vehicle license plates;

(iii) Forestry Vehicle license plates; [and]

(iv) Log Loader license plates;[.]

(v) Golf Cart license plates; and

(vi) Package Delivery Vehicle license plates.

(C) New specialty license plates. If the department creates a new specialty license plate under Transportation Code, §504.801, the department will specify at the time of creation whether the license plate may be transferred between vehicles.

(2) Transfer between owners.

(A) Non-transferable between owners. Specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices issued under Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapters C, E, and F are not transferable from one person to another except as specifically permitted by statute.

(B) New specialty license plates. If the department creates a new specialty license plate under Transportation Code, §504.801, the department will specify at the time of creation whether the license plate may be transferred between owners.

(3) Simultaneous transfer between owners and vehicles. Specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices are transferable between owners and vehicles simultaneously only if the owners and vehicles meet all the requirements in both paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.

(f) Replacement.

(1) Application. When specialty license plates, symbols, tabs, or other devices are lost, stolen, or mutilated, the owner shall apply directly to the county tax assessor-collector for the issuance of replacements, except that Log Loader license plates must be reapplied for and accompanied by the prescribed fees and documentation.

(2) Temporary registration insignia. If the specialty license plate, symbol, tab, or other device is lost, destroyed, or mutilated to such an extent that it is unusable, and if issuance of a replacement license plate would require that it be remanufactured, the owner must pay the statutory replacement fee, and the department will issue a temporary tag for interim use. The owner's new specialty license plate number will be shown on the temporary tag unless it is a personalized license plate, in which case the same personalized license plate number will be shown.

(3) Stolen specialty license plates.

(A) The department or county tax assessor-collector will not approve the issuance of replacement license plates with the same personalized license plate number if the department's records indicate either the vehicle displaying the personalized license plates or the license plates are reported as stolen to law enforcement. The owner will be directed to contact the department for another personalized plate choice.

(B) The owner may select a different personalized number to be issued at no charge with the same expiration as the stolen specialty plate. On recovery of the stolen vehicle or license plates, the department will issue, at the owner's or applicant's request, replacement license plates, bearing the same personalized number as those that were stolen.

(g) License plates created after January 1, 1999. In accordance with Transportation Code, §504.702, the department will begin to issue specialty license plates authorized by a law enacted after January 1, 1999, only if the sponsoring entity for that license plate submits the following items before the fifth anniversary of the effective date of the law.

(1) The sponsoring entity must submit a written application. The application must be on a form approved by the director and include, at a minimum:

(A) the name of the license plate;

(B) the name and address of the sponsoring entity;

(C) the name and telephone number of a person authorized to act for the sponsoring entity; and

(D) the deposit.

(2) A sponsoring entity is not an agent of the department and does not act for the department in any matter, and the department does not assume any responsibility for fees or applications collected by a sponsoring entity.

(h) Assignment procedures for state, federal, and county officials.

(1) State Officials. State Official license plates contain the distinguishing prefix "SO." Members of the state legislature may be issued up to three sets of State Official specialty license plates with the distinguishing prefix "SO," or up to three sets of State Official specialty license plates that depict the state capitol, and do not display the distinguishing prefix "SO." An application by a member of the state legislature, for a State Official specialty license plate, must specify the same specialty license plate design for each applicable vehicle. State Official license plates are assigned in the following order:

(A) Governor;

(B) Lieutenant Governor;

(C) Speaker of the House;

(D) Attorney General;

(E) Comptroller;

(F) Land Commissioner;

(G) Agriculture Commissioner;

(H) Secretary of State;

(I) Railroad Commission [Presiding Officer followed by the remaining members based on their seniority];

(J) Supreme Court Chief Justice followed by the remaining justices based on their seniority;

(K) Criminal Court of Appeals Presiding Judge followed by the remaining judges based on their seniority;

(L) Members of the State Legislature, with Senators assigned in order of district number followed by Representatives assigned in order of district number, except that in the event of redistricting, license plates will be reassigned; and

(M) Board of Education Presiding Officer followed by the remaining members assigned in district number order, except that in the event of redistricting, license plates will be reassigned.

(2) Members of the U.S. Congress.

(A) U.S. Senate license plates contain the prefix "Senate" and are assigned by seniority; and

(B) U.S. House license plates contain the prefix "House" and are assigned in order of district number, except that in the event of redistricting, license plates will be reassigned.

(3) Federal Judge.

(A) Federal Judge license plates contain the prefix "USA" and are assigned on a seniority basis within each court in the following order:

(i) Judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals;

(ii) Judges of the United States District Courts;

(iii) United States Bankruptcy Judges; and

(iv) United States Magistrates.

(B) Federal Administrative Law Judge plates contain the prefix "US" and are assigned in the order in which applications are received.

(C) A federal judge who retired on or before August 31, 2003, and who held license plates expiring in March 2004 may continue to receive federal judge plates. A federal judge who retired after August 31, 2003, is not eligible for U.S. Judge license plates.

(4) State Judge.

(A) State Judge license plates contain the prefix "TX" and are assigned sequentially in the following order:

(i) Appellate District Courts;

(ii) Presiding Judges of Administrative Regions;

(iii) Judicial District Courts;

(iv) Criminal District Courts; and

(v) Family District Courts and County Statutory Courts.

(B) A particular alpha-numeric combination will always be assigned to a judge of the same court to which it was originally assigned.

(C) A state judge who retired on or before August 31, 2003, and who held license plates expiring in March 2004 may continue to receive state judge plates. A state judge who retired after August 31, 2003, is not eligible for State Judge license plates.

(5) County Judge license plates contain the prefix "CJ" and are assigned by county number.

(6) In the event of redistricting or other plate reallocation, the department may allow a state official to retain that official's plate number if the official has had the number for five or more consecutive years.

(i) Development of new specialty license plates.

(1) Procedure. The following procedure governs the process of authorizing new specialty license plates under Transportation Code, §504.801, whether the new license plate originated as a result of an application or as a department initiative.

(2) Applications for the creation of new specialty license plates. An applicant for the creation of a new specialty license plate, other than a vendor specialty plate under §217.52 of this title (relating to Marketing of Specialty License Plates through a Private Vendor), must submit a written application on a form approved by the executive director. The application must include:

(A) the applicant's name, address, telephone number, and other identifying information as directed on the form;

(B) certification on Internal Revenue Service letterhead stating that the applicant is a not-for-profit entity;

(C) a draft design of the specialty license plate;

(D) projected sales of the plate, including an explanation of how the projected figure was established;

(E) a marketing plan for the plate, including a description of the target market;

(F) a licensing agreement from the appropriate third party for any intellectual property design or design element;

(G) a letter from the executive director of the sponsoring state agency stating that the agency agrees to receive and distribute revenue from the sale of the specialty license plate and that the use of the funds will not violate a statute or constitutional provision; and

(H) other information necessary for the board to reach a decision regarding approval of the requested specialty plate.

(3) Review process. The board:

(A) will not consider incomplete applications;

(B) may request additional information from an applicant if necessary for a decision; and

(C) will consider specialty license plate applications that are restricted by law to certain individuals or groups of individuals (qualifying plates) using the same procedures as applications submitted for plates that are available to everyone (non-qualifying plates).

(4) Request for additional information. If the board determines that additional information is needed, the applicant must return the requested information not later than the requested due date. If the additional information is not received by that date, the board will return the application as incomplete unless the board:

(A) determines that the additional requested information is not critical for consideration and approval of the application; and

(B) approves the application, pending receipt of the additional information by a specified due date.

(5) Board decision. The board's decision will be based on:

(A) compliance with Transportation Code, §504.801;

(B) the proposed license plate design, including:

(i) whether the design appears to meet the legibility and reflectivity standards established by the department;

(ii) whether the design meets the standards established by the department for uniqueness;

(iii) other information provided during the application process;

(iv) the criteria designated in §217.27 as applied to the design; and

(v) whether a design is similar enough to an existing plate design that it may compete with the existing plate sales; and

(C) the applicant's ability to comply with Transportation Code, §504.702 relating to the required deposit or application that must be provided before the manufacture of a new specialty license plate.

(6) Public comment on proposed design. All proposed plate designs will be considered by the board as an agenda item at a regularly or specially called open meeting. Notice of consideration of proposed plate designs will be posted in accordance with Office of the Secretary of State meeting notice requirements. Notice of each license plate design will be posted on the department's Internet website to receive public comment at least 25 days in advance of the meeting at which it will be considered. The department will notify all other specialty plate organizations and the sponsoring agencies who administer specialty license plates issued in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 504, Subchapter G, of the posting. A comment on the proposed design can be submitted in writing through the mechanism provided on the department's Internet website for submission of comments. Written comments are welcome and must be received by the department at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. Public comment will be received at the board's meeting.

(7) Final approval.

(A) Approval. The board will approve or disapprove the specialty license plate application based on all of the information provided pursuant to this subchapter at an open meeting.

(B) Application not approved. If the application is not approved under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the applicant may submit a new application and supporting documentation for the design to be considered again by the board if:

(i) the applicant has additional, required documentation; or

(ii) the design has been altered to an acceptable degree.

(8) Issuance of specialty plates.

(A) If the specialty license plate is approved, the applicant must comply with Transportation Code, §504.702 before any further processing of the license plate.

(B) Approval of the plate does not guarantee that the submitted draft plate design will be used. The board has final approval authority of all specialty license plate designs and may adjust or reconfigure the submitted draft design to comply with the format or license plate specifications.

(C) If the board, in consultation with the applicant, adjusts or reconfigures the design, the adjusted or reconfigured design will not be posted on the department's website for additional comments.

(9) Redesign of specialty license plate.

(A) Upon receipt of a written request from the applicant, the department will allow redesign of a specialty license plate.

(B) A request for a redesign must meet all application requirements and proceed through the approval process of a new specialty plate as required by this subsection.

(C) An approved license plate redesign does not require the deposit required by Transportation Code, §504.702, but the applicant must pay a redesign cost to cover administrative expenses.

(j) Golf carts.

(1) A county tax assessor-collector may issue golf cart license plates as long as the requirements under Transportation Code, §551.403 or §551.404 are met.

(2) A county tax assessor-collector may only issue golf cart license plates to residents or property owners of the issuing county.

(3) A golf cart license plate may not be used as a registration insignia, and a golf cart may not be registered for operation on a public highway.

(4) The license plate fee for a golf cart license plate is $10.

(k) Package delivery vehicle.

(1) A county tax assessor-collector may issue package delivery license plates as long as the requirements under Transportation Code, §§551.453, 551.454, and 551.455 are met.

(2) The license plate fee for a package delivery license plate is $25 to be paid on an annual basis.

§217.46.Commercial Vehicle Registration.

(a) Eligibility. A motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, designed or used primarily for the transportation of property, including any passenger car that has been reconstructed to be used, and is being used, primarily for delivery purposes, with the exception of a passenger car used in the delivery of the United States mail[mails], must be registered as a commercial vehicle.

(b) Commercial vehicle registration classifications.

(1) Apportioned license plates. Apportioned license plates are issued in lieu of Combination, Motor Bus, or Truck license plates to Texas carriers who proportionally register their fleets in other states, in conformity with §217.56 of this title (relating to Registration Reciprocity Agreements).

(2) City bus license plates. A street or suburban bus shall be registered with license plates bearing the legend "City Bus."

(3) Combination license plates.

(A) Specifications. A truck or truck-tractor [truck tractor] with a gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds used or to be used in combination with a semitrailer having a gross weight in excess of 6,000 pounds, may be registered with combination license plates. Such vehicles must be registered for a gross weight equal to the combined gross weight of all the vehicles in the combination, but not less than 18,000 pounds. Only one combination license plate is required and must be displayed on the front of the truck or truck-tractor [truck tractor]. When displaying a combination license plate, a truck or truck-tractor [truck tractor] is not restricted to pulling a semitrailer licensed with a Token Trailer license plate and may legally pull semitrailers and full trailers displaying other types of Texas license plates or license plates issued out of state. The following vehicles may not be registered in combination:

(i) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] having a gross weight of less than 10,000 pounds or trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] to be used exclusively in combination with semitrailers having gross weights not exceeding 6,000 pounds;

(ii) semitrailers with gross weights of 6,000 pounds or less, or semitrailers that are to be operated exclusively with trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] having gross weight of less than 10,000 pounds;

(iii) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] used exclusively in combination with semitrailer-type vehicles displaying Machinery, Permit, or Farm Trailer license plates;

(iv) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] used exclusively in combination with travel trailers and manufactured housing;

(v) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] to be registered with Farm Truck or Farm Truck Tractor license plates;

(vi) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] and semitrailers to be registered with disaster relief license plates;

(vii) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] and semitrailers to be registered with Soil Conservation license plates;

(viii) trucks or truck-tractors [truck tractors] and semitrailers to be registered with U.S. Government license plates or Exempt license plates issued by the State of Texas; and

(ix) vehicles that are to be issued temporary permits, such as 72-Hour Permits, 144-Hour Permits, One Trip Permits, or 30-Day Permits in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.094 and §502.095.

(B) Converted semitrailers. Semitrailers that are converted to full trailers by means of auxiliary axle assemblies will retain their semitrailer status, and such semitrailers are subject to the combination and token trailer registration requirements.

(C) Axle assemblies. Various types of axle assemblies that are specially designed for use in conjunction with other vehicles or combinations of vehicles may be used to increase the load capabilities of such vehicles or combinations.

(i) Auxiliary axle assemblies such as trailer axle converters, jeep axles, and drag axles, which are used in conjunction with truck-tractor [truck tractor] and semitrailer combinations, are not required to be registered; however, the additional weight that is acquired by the use of such axle assemblies must be included in the combined gross weight of the combination.

(ii) Ready-mixed concrete trucks that have an auxiliary axle assembly installed for the purpose of increasing a load capacity of such vehicles must be registered for a weight that includes the axle assembly.

(D) Exchange of Combination license plates. Combination license plates shall not be exchanged for another type of registration during the registration year, except that:

(i) if a major permanent reconstruction change occurs, Combination license plates may be exchanged for Truck license plates, provided that a corrected title is applied for;

(ii) if the department initially issues Combination license plates in error, the plates will be exchanged for license plates of the proper classification;

(iii) if the department initially issues Truck or Trailer license plates in error to vehicles that should have been registered in combination, such plates will be exchanged for Combination and Token Trailer license plates; or

(iv) if a Texas apportioned carrier acquires a combination license power unit, the Combination license plates will be exchanged for Apportioned license plates.

(4) Cotton Vehicle license plates. The department will issue Cotton Vehicle license plates in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.505 and §217.45 of this title (relating to Specialty License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices).

(5) Forestry Vehicle license plates. The department will issue Forestry Vehicle license plates in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.507 and §217.45 of this title.

(6) In Transit license plates. The department may issue an In Transit license plate annually to any person, firm, or corporation engaged in the primary business of transporting and delivering by means of the full mount, saddle mount, tow bar, or any other combination, new vehicles and other vehicles from the manufacturer or any other point of origin to any point of destination within the State. Each new vehicle being transported, delivered, or moved under its own power in accordance with this paragraph must display an In Transit license plate in accordance with Transportation Code, §503.035.

(7) Motor Bus license plates. A motor bus as well as a taxi and other vehicles that transport passengers for compensation or hire, must display Motor Bus license plates when operated outside the limits of a city or town, or adjacent suburb, in which its company is franchised to do business.

(8) Token Trailer license plates.

(A) Qualification. The department will issue Token Trailer license plates for semitrailers that are required to be registered in combination.

(B) Validity. A Token Trailer license plate is valid only when it is displayed on a semitrailer that is being pulled by a truck or a truck-tractor [truck tractor] that has been properly registered with Forestry Vehicle (in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.507), Combination (in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.255), or Apportioned (in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.091) license plates for combined gross weights that include the weight of the semitrailer, unless exempted by Transportation Code, §502.094 and §623.011.

(C) House-moving dollies. House-moving dollies are to be registered with Token Trailer license plates and titled as semitrailers; however, only one such dolly in a combination is required to be registered and titled. The remaining dolly (or dollies) is permitted to operate unregistered, since by the nature of its construction, it is dependent upon another such vehicle in order to function. The pulling unit must display a Combination or Apportioned license plate.

(D) Full trailers. The department will not issue a Token Trailer license plate for a full trailer.

(9) Tow Truck license plates. A Tow Truck license plate must be obtained for all tow trucks operating and registered in this state. The department will not issue a Tow Truck license plate unless the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has issued a permit for the tow truck under Occupations Code, Chapter 2308, Subchapter C.

(c) Application for commercial vehicle registration.

(1) Application form. An applicant shall apply for commercial license plates through the appropriate county tax assessor-collector upon forms prescribed by the director and shall require, at a minimum, the following information:

(A) owner name and complete address;

(B) complete description of vehicle, including empty weight; and

(C) motor number or serial number.

(2) Empty weight determination.

(A) The weight of a Motor Bus shall be the empty weight plus carrying capacity, in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.055.

(B) The weight of a vehicle cannot be lowered below the weight indicated on a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin unless a corrected Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin is obtained.

(C) In all cases where the department questions the empty weight of a particular vehicle, the applicant should present a weight certificate from a public weight scale or the Department of Public Safety.

(3) Gross weight.

(A) Determination of Weight. The combined gross weight of vehicles registering for combination license plates shall be determined by the empty weight of the truck or truck-tractor [truck tractor] combined with the empty weight of the heaviest semitrailer or semitrailers used or to be used in combination therewith, plus the heaviest net load to be carried on such combination during the motor vehicle registration year, provided that in no case may the combined gross weight be less than 18,000 pounds.

(B) Restrictions. The following restrictions apply to combined gross weights.

(i) After a truck or truck-tractor [truck tractor] is registered for a combined gross weight, such weight cannot be lowered at any subsequent date during the registration year. The owner may, however, lower the gross weight when registering the vehicle for the following registration year, provided that the registered combined gross weight is sufficient to cover the heaviest load to be transported during the year and provided that the combined gross weight is not less than 18,000 pounds.

(ii) A combination of vehicles is restricted to a total gross weight not to exceed 80,000 pounds; however, all combinations may not qualify for 80,000 pounds unless such weight can be properly distributed in accordance with axle load limitations, tire size, and distance between axles, in accordance with Transportation Code, §623.011.

(4) Motor number or serial number. Ownership must be established by a court order if no motor or serial number can be identified. Once ownership has been established, the department will assign a number upon payment of the fee.

(5) Accompanying documentation. Unless otherwise exempted by law, completed applications for commercial license plates shall be accompanied by:

(A) prescribed registration fees;

(B) prescribed local fees or other fees that are collected in conjunction with registering a vehicle;

(C) evidence of financial responsibility as required by Transportation Code, §502.046 if the applicant is a motor carrier as defined by §218.2 of this title (relating to Definitions), proof of financial responsibility may be in the form of a registration listing or an international stamp indicating that the vehicle is registered in compliance with Chapter 218, Subchapter B of this title (relating to Motor Carrier Registration);

(D) an application for Texas Title in accordance with Subchapter A of this chapter, or other proof of ownership;

(E) proof of payment of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, if applicable;

(F) an original or certified copy of the current permit issued in accordance with Occupations Code, Chapter 2308, Subchapter C, if application is being made for Tow Truck license plates; and

(G) other documents or fees required by law.

(6) Proof of payment required. Proof of payment of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is required for vehicles with a gross registration weight of 55,000 pounds or more, or in cases where the vehicle's gross weight is voluntarily increased to 55,000 pounds or more. Proof of payment shall consist of an original or photocopy of the Schedule 1 portion of Form 2290 receipted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or a copy of the Form 2290 with Schedule 1 attached as filed with the IRS, along with a photocopy of the front and back of the canceled check covering the payment to the IRS.

(7) Proof of payment not required. Proof of payment of the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is not required:

(A) for new vehicles when an application for title and registration is supported by a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin;

(B) on used vehicles when an application for title and registration is filed within 60 days from the date of transfer to the applicant as reflected on the assigned title, except that proof of payment will be required when an application for Texas title and registration is accompanied by an out-of-state title that is recorded in the name of the applicant;

(C) when a vehicle was previously wrecked, in storage, or otherwise out of service and, therefore, not registered or operated during the current registration year or during the current tax year, provided that a non-use affidavit is signed by the operator; and

(D) as a prerequisite to registration of vehicles apprehended for operating without registration or reciprocity or when an owner or operator purchases temporary operating permits or additional weight.

(d) Renewal of commercial license plates.

(1) Registration period. The department will establish the registration period for commercial vehicles, unless specified by statute. Commercial license plates are issued for established annual registration periods as follows.

(A) March expiration. If a fleet under §217.54 of this title (relating to Registration of Fleet Vehicles) contains a vehicle with a combination license plate, the established annual registration period for the fleet is April 1st through March 31st. [The following license plates are issued for the established annual registration period of April 1st through March 31st of the following year:]

[(i) City Bus license plates;]

[(ii) Combination license plates; and]

[(iii) Motor Bus license plates.]

(B) Five-year registration with March 31st expiration. The following license plates are available with a five-year registration period. Registration fees for the license plates listed below may be paid on an annual basis, or may be paid up front for the entire five-year period:

(i) Five-year Rental Trailer license plates issued for rental trailers that are part of a rental fleet; and

(ii) Five-year Token Trailer license plates, available to owners of semitrailers to be used in combination with truck-tractors displaying Apportioned or Combination license plates.

(2) License Plate Renewal Notice. The department will mail a License Plate Renewal Notice, indicating the proper registration fee and the month and year the registration expires, to each vehicle owner approximately six to eight weeks prior to the expiration of the vehicle's registration.

(3) Return of License Plate Renewal Notices. License Plate Renewal Notices should be returned by the vehicle owner to the department or the appropriate county tax assessor-collector, as indicated on the License Plate Renewal Notice. Unless otherwise exempted by law, License Plate Renewal Notices may be returned either in person or by mail, and shall be accompanied by:

(A) statutorily prescribed registration renewal fees;

(B) prescribed local fees or other fees that are collected in conjunction with registration renewal;

(C) evidence of financial responsibility as required by Transportation Code, §502.046; and

(D) other prescribed documents or fees.

(4) Lost or destroyed License Plate Renewal Notice. If a License Plate Renewal Notice is lost, destroyed, or not received by the vehicle owner, the vehicle may be registered if the owner presents personal identification acceptable to the county tax assessor-collector. Failure to receive the notice does not relieve the owner of the responsibility to renew the vehicle's registration.

(e) Transfer of commercial vehicle license plates.

(1) Transfer between persons. With the exceptions noted in paragraph (3) of this subsection, when ownership of a vehicle displaying commercial vehicle license plates is transferred, application for transfer of such license plates shall be made with the county tax assessor-collector in the county in which the purchaser resides. If the purchaser does not intend to use the vehicle in a manner that would qualify it for the license plates issued to that vehicle, such plates must be exchanged for the appropriate license plates.

(2) Transfer between vehicles. Commercial vehicle license plates are non-transferable between vehicles.

(3) Transfer of Apportioned and Tow Truck license plates. Apportioned and Tow Truck license plates are non-transferable between persons or vehicles, and become void if the vehicle to which the license plates were issued is sold.

(f) Replacement of lost, stolen, or mutilated commercial vehicle license plates. An owner of lost, stolen, or mutilated commercial vehicle license plates may obtain replacement license plates by filing an Application for Replacement Plates and remitting the prescribed fee to the county tax assessor-collector of the county in which the owner resides.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on November 16, 2017.

TRD-201704639

David D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Earliest possible date of adoption: December 31, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665