TBO.com, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

Senate preliminarily OK’s more specialty license plates


Published:   |   Updated: April 23, 2014 at 12:44 PM

The Florida Senate is poised to approve three new specialty license plates despite the Legislature’s self-imposed ban on creating new tags.

One of the new specialty plates discussed Wednesday would benefit Keiser University, a private, formerly for-profit institution. It’s based in Fort Lauderdale and has campuses in Tampa and elsewhere in Florida.

The other plates are for “Fallen Law Enforcement Officers” and for Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center on the campus of the University of South Florida.

The bill (SB 132), sponsored by Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, originally created the fallen officers tag and extended the time for the Hispanic Achievers and St. John’s River plates to meet their sales goals.

A specialty plate has to “pre-sell” 1,000 in a two-year period before they can be manufactured.

On Wednesday, the bill was amended on the Senate floor, with Latvala adding the Moffitt plate and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, adding the Keiser plate.

Keiser was sold to Everglades College Inc., a nonprofit organization that operates Everglades University, in early 2011.

Diaz de la Portilla is running unopposed for re-election this year. To maintain tax-exempt status, nonprofit organizations cannot contribute to political campaigns.

The bill could be voted on as early as Thursday. Related bills are in the House.

Specialty plates, of which there are now 120, cost $15 to $25 a year above the standard registration fee.

In 2013, more than 137,000 specialty tags were sold and 1.2 million were renewed, creating revenue of nearly $34 million, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The money goes to charities for their causes.


Comments