By 2010, St. Louisans will be able to walk into any state license office and purchase (or replace) a set of license plate year tabs that will be unique to their license plates. The tabs will be produced on-site, the same way drivers licenses are now. The law requiring this change and newly designed standard license plates that will begin appearing sometime next year are the state’s two major initiatives to discourage the annoying and frustrating crime of license tab theft.
I am not that wild about the new bluebird-on-a-Hawthorn plates (every St. Louisan knows that birds belong on bats, not branches), but the anti-theft features are good ones.
To make the wait for the new tabs and plate designs a little easier to bear, Governor Matt Blunt will be in town today to sign a new law that will ease some of the current frustrations of replacing stolen license tabs. The new law will allow a person replacing stolen license tabs to receive free new ones by bringing a notarized statement about the theft to a state license office. The old law it changes required a police report, which added several steps and more time to the process of free tab replacement.
(SB 384 was sponsored by state senator Maida Coleman. According to the Governor’s office, 20,625 replacement tabs were issued in 2006.)
UPDATE: In turns out (8/1/2007) that only a portion of the tab replacement fee was waived by Sen. Coleman’s bill. A different state law still allows local fee offices to charge a $3.50 handling fee. Better, then, than it was but not yet free. Eliminating the rest of the replacement fee will be a City priority in the next legislative session.