The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recently adopted agency rules for the issuance and usage of digital license plates. During the 86th Legislature, House Bill 1711 as filed by Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, allowed digital license plates to be used in lieu of regular plates on vehicles. The original piece of legislation completely removed the county tax assessor-collector from the title and registration process and created significant concerns about safety among county sheriffs.
Throughout the legislative session, efforts were made to address these concerns, as well as those of other business entities, in order to pass the law in a manner that most were comfortable with. The legislation was finally passed as an amendment to Senate Bill 604 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, with significant changes from the filed version.
SB 604 addressed many of the concerns raised by the Tax Assessor-Collectors Association of Texas and the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas. Tax assessor-collectors were put back into the title and registration process for the digital plates, and safeguards were put in place for law enforcement. Additionally, only commercial fleet vehicles, vehicles owned or operated by a governmental entity, or non-passenger vehicles are legally allowed to use a digital plate. Furthermore, if the vehicle has a digital plate on the rear, it must have a regular physical plate on the front.
At its meeting on April 2, the DMV Board voted to publish the rules in the Texas Register and received comments from the following during the official comment period:
- Collin County Sheriff’s Office
- Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority
- North Texas Tollway Authority
- Tax Assessor-Collectors Association of Texas
- Lubbock County tax assessor-collector
- 3M Co.
- Denton County tax assessor-collector
- Harris County Toll Road Authority
At its June 11 meeting, the DMV Board voted to adopt the final version of the digital license plate rules, which can be found here
. The effective date for the rules is July 2, 2020.
For more information on this article, contact Katy Estrada