The Montana Motor Vehicle Division says it will be granting an extension to the 85 specialty plates that were recently revoked.
Administrator Sarah Garcia confirmed the extension on Thursday, and said her office understands and acknowledges the letter that initially went out to the nonprofits could have been clearer.
Garcia said the department is still working on the details of what the grace period will look like, but hopes to have a letter sent to the affected nonprofits in the next couple weeks.
State Sen. Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena, sponsored the legislation that changed the specialty license plates rule, and told MTN News this is a great move in the right direction.
Cohenour said she first heard about the revocations on Monday and immediately reached out to the motor vehicle division.
“Folks are very upset. That wasn’t the intention of the legislation,” said Cohenour. “The intention of the legislation was to make this process of specialty plates work better for the public, for the department, for law enforcement; not knowing the implementation was going to go this poorly.”
Cohenour’s inbox soon began to flood with messages from concerned Montanans and organizations. She also heard a bipartisan group of legislators were reaching out to the department after hearing complaints from their constituents.
“This was the citizens and legislators working together to make a change,” said Cohenour.
Several nonprofits MTN spoke with said there was no way for them to check on the number of plates they were at leading up to the deadline.
“The letter in September had numbers for people, but in an ongoing basis how would you know if you made the number or not?” said Cohenour.
It costs an organization around $4,000 to start a specialty plate. They then need to reach 400 sets with a current registration after three years to remain in the program. Each specialty plate is then reviewed yearly.
Cohenour said there is still no guarantee the organizations currently under the 400 registered plate sets minimum will get enough by the end of the extension, but at least those organizations now have a fighting chance.
“I think it would be reasonable if they have not been enforcing this for a long period of time to give at least a year, or perhaps to the certification time frame,” said Cohenour. “I think those are a couple or reasonable that the department could really make this better for these folks.”
Cohenour also encourages people that support one of the affected organizations to consider getting one of their specialty plates to help them make the 400 minimum.
The specialty plates in danger of revocation are:
Prickly Pear Land Trust
Lewis & Clark Humane Society
Bike Walk Montana
Benefis Mercy Flight
Missoula Freestyle Team
Richland Youth Hockey
Stafford Animal Shelter
International Christian Cycling Club Montana Spoke
St Jude Thaddeus Catholic School
CMR Partner Inc
Bitterroot Humane Association
Missoula Art Museum
Montana Library Association
Disability Rights of Montana
Capital High School Booster Club
Rotary District 5390 Foundation
Montana Area Agencies on Aging Association
Beaver Booster Club IncRuby Habitat Foundation
Magic City Soccer Club
American Diabetes Association
Whitefish Legacy Partners
Flathead Valley Skiing Foundation
Anaconda Community Foundation
PSIA-NRM Educational Foundation, Inc
Montana Utility Coordinating Council/Montana 811
Missoula Youth Football Inc
Sidney Soccer Association
March of Dimes
Planned Parenthood of Montana
Friends of the Beartooth All American Road Inc.
Central Ed Foundation of Silver Bow
MSU Billings Foundation
Montana CASA Gal Association
Missoula Area Youth Hockey Association
Glacier High School Booster Club
Carroll College Saints Athletic Association
Friends of Beaver Creek Park
CAN AM Lifeline Search and Rescue
Richland County Ambulance Service/Sidney Health Center
Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter
Montana Swimming Inc
Montana Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation
Flathead High School Booster Club 2014
Montana Masonic FoundationMontana Watershed Coordination Council
Montana Heritage Commission
City of Bozeman
Libby School District Number 4
City of Lewistown
Butte School District
The Tribal Council of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
City of Shelby
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Crow Tribe Executive Branch
Humane Society of Western Montana
Northwest Healthcare Foundation
Boy Scouts of America, Montana Council
Gallatin Hockey Inc DBA Bozeman Amateur Association
Swan Valley Connections
Algeria Shrine Temple
Alzheimer's Association Montana Chapter
Big Sky Economic Development
Whitefish Historical Society
MT Cutting Horse Association
Department of Montana Veterans of Foreign Wars
Friends of the Wild Swan
Havre Wrestling Club
Friends of Makoshika
Big Sky Education Foundation
Manhattan Christian School
Browning Public School District Number 9
Great Falls High School
Eureka Public Schools 2018
Billings Catholic Schools
Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes