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Friday, May 31, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - An ALJ has reinstated the Indiana Youth Group's (IYG) Specialty License Plate

Here is the news release posted by the IYG this afternoon:

Indiana Youth Group's Specialty License Plate Reinstated: Indiana Youth Group Allowed to Sell Specialty Plates Again After 14-Month Legal Battle

(Indianapolis, IN) - An Administrative Hearing Judge has ruled in favor of the Indiana Youth Group (IYG) and has ordered the IYG Specialty License Plate be reinstated.

The Administrative Hearing Judge for the BMV found that "IYG's actions did not constitute a sale or auction of low digit SGR (Specialty Group Recognition) license plate. Therefore, IYG's actions did not support the immediate termination of the Contract as provided in this section." The ruling further states "The BMV was required to give IYG thirty (30) days notice and the opportunity to correct or cure its breach prior to terminating the Contract."

"While the politics may not have been on our side through this process, we were always confident that the facts were", said IYG's Executive Director, Mary Byrne. "We just wanted a fair shake from the state and a chance to sell our plates again. We got that chance from this judgment and we are incredibly grateful that our case was reviewed based on the merits and not a political agenda."

The judgment came after Ken Falk, attorney for the ACLU of Indiana, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in October of 2012. The hearing was continued four times since IYG and the BMV were in negotiations for a settlement that would allow IYG to get the plate back. On April 30, the day after the new specialty license plate law was signed; the BMV rescinded their negotiated offer. Falk then requested the scheduling of the summary judgment hearing that was held on May 10.

"The revenue generated from license plate sales is crucial for continuing the programs and services offered to the youth served by our organization", Byrne said. In the 10 weeks in 2012 that IYG was able to sell their specialty plate over 800 plates were sold. Plate sales generated over $20,000 during the same period.

IYG is the only not-for-profit agency that is solely dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth in Indianapolis and the only agency with a full-time staff in the state. "The youth we serve often have nowhere else to turn and the money we raise goes directly toward supporting disenfranchised youth and toward putting a stop to needless bullying and violence in our schools," Byrne said.

Sales of the Indiana Youth Group license plate were suspended in March of last year after 20 state legislators signed a letter to the BMV on the last day of the legislative session requesting immediate suspension alleging that IYG and two other organizations were selling the low numbered plates. This was the culmination of over six weeks of the state assembly trying to pass legislation to take the plate away from IYG.

IYG was using the low numbered plates as thank-you gifts associated with different levels of giving, much the same as premiums being offered with different levels of membership by public radio or television during their fundraising drives.

ILB: Here is a long list of some of the past ILB entries on speciality license plates.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 31, 2013 03:06 PM
Posted to Indiana Government