HOUSE BILL 231
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
Patricio Ruiloba and William “Bill” R. Rehm
RELATING TO LICENSE PLATES; REQUIRING MOTOR VEHICLES TO DISPLAY FRONT END LICENSE PLATES; INCREASING LICENSE PLATE FEES; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 66-3-14 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 35, Section 34, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-3-14. REGISTRATION PLATES OR VALIDATING STICKERS TO BE FURNISHED BY DEPARTMENT--REFLECTIVE MATERIAL.--
A. Except as provided in Subsection B of this section, the department upon registering a vehicle shall issue [a] two registration [plate] plates or [a] two validating [sticker] stickers to the owner of the vehicle. The validating [sticker] stickers may be designed and required to be placed on the registration [plate] plates or elsewhere on the vehicle as prescribed by the department.
B. For motor vehicles registered pursuant to Section 66-3-27 or 66-3-423 NMSA 1978 and for trailers, semitrailers, pole trailers, manufactured homes, school buses, state government vehicles, motorcycles and off-highway motor vehicles, the department upon registering the vehicle shall issue a registration plate or a validating sticker to the owner of the vehicle. The validating sticker may be designed and required to be placed on the registration plate or elsewhere on the vehicle as prescribed by the department.
[B.] C. Each registration plate shall have a background of reflective material such that the registration number assigned to the vehicle is plainly legible from a distance of one hundred feet at night. The colors shall include those of the state flag, except prestige and special plates.
[C.] D. Each registration plate shall have displayed upon it:
(1) the registration number assigned to the person to whom it was issued; and
(2) the name of this state.
[D.] E. The department shall issue no registration plates for privately owned vehicles that contain the words "staff officer" or any other title except as otherwise provided by law.
[E.] F. All registration plates for private vehicles shall be alike in form except for the owner's registration number. The department shall adopt registration number systems for registration plates.
[F.] G. In lieu of or in addition to a registration plate or sticker for commercial motor vehicles, the department may issue an electronic identifying device."
SECTION 2. Section 66-3-17 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 35, Section 37, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-3-17. REGISTRATION [PLATE] RENEWAL--REPLACEMENT OF [PLATE] PLATES--VALIDATING STICKERS.--
A. Succeeding registration renewals of [the] registration [plate] plates issued [under] pursuant to Section 66-3-14 NMSA 1978 shall cause the division to issue [a] validating [sticker] stickers only, except as provided in Subsections B [and C] through D of this section.
B. The person to whom the [plate is] plates are issued may, at any time, apply for the issuance of [a] duplicate or replacement [plate] plates, and upon the surrender of the registration [plate he] plates the person then has, along with the payment of a reasonable fee set by the [director] secretary that will cover the cost of the production and distribution of the [plate] plates, the applicant shall be issued [a] duplicate or replacement [plate] plates.
C. [Any] A peace officer may, upon discovering that [the] a registration plate of [any] a vehicle is illegible because of wear or damage or other cause, issue a citation to the owner or operator of the vehicle. The citation shall provide that the owner shall, within thirty days from the date of the citation, apply for and obtain [a] duplicate or replacement [plate] plates from the division.
D. Except for vehicles qualifying for registration pursuant to Subsection B of Section 66-3-14 NMSA 1978, a registration renewal for a vehicle that had been issued one registration plate pursuant to Section 66-3-14 NMSA 1978 prior to July 1, 2023 shall cause the department to issue two replacement registration plates for the vehicle."
SECTION 3. Section 66-3-18 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1978, Chapter 35, Section 38, as amended) is amended to read:
"66-3-18. DISPLAY OF REGISTRATION PLATES AND TEMPORARY REGISTRATION PERMITS--DISPLAYS PROHIBITED AND ALLOWED.--
A. [The registration plate] Except for vehicles registered pursuant to Subsection B of Section 66-3-14 NMSA 1978, registration plates shall be attached to the front and rear of the vehicle for which [it is] they are issued. [however, the registration plate shall be attached to the front of a road tractor or truck tractor. The] Each plate shall be securely fastened at all times in a fixed horizontal position at a height of not less than twelve inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom of [the] each plate. [It] Each plate shall be in a place and position so as to be clearly visible, and [it] they shall be maintained free from foreign material and in a condition to be clearly legible.
B. For vehicles registered pursuant to Subsection B of Section 66-3-14 NMSA 1978, the registration plate shall be attached to the rear of the vehicle for which it is issued.
[B.] C. A demonstration or temporary registration permit shall be firmly affixed to the inside left rear window of the vehicle to which it is issued, unless such display presents a safety hazard or the demonstration or temporary registration permit is not visible or readable from that position, in which case, the demonstration or temporary registration permit shall be displayed in such a manner that it is clearly visible from the rear or left side of the vehicle.
[C.] D. No vehicle while being operated on the highways of this state shall have displayed either on the front or the rear of the vehicle any registration plate, including validating sticker, other than [one] those issued or validated for the current registration period by the department or any other licensing authority having jurisdiction over the vehicle. No expired registration plate or validating sticker shall be displayed on the vehicle. [other than an expired special registration plate, which may be exhibited on the front of the vehicle.
D. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the use of a promotional or advertising plate on the front of the vehicle.]
E. A violation of a provision of this section is a penalty assessment misdemeanor."
SECTION 4. A new section of Chapter 66, Article 6 NMSA 1978 is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] FRONT REGISTRATION PLATE FEE.--Except for registration plates issued pursuant to Section 66-3-27, 66-3-415 or 66-3-423 NMSA 1978 or issued at no charge pursuant to Section 66-3-409, 66-3-411, 66-3-412, 66-3-413, 66-3-414, 66-3-421 or 66-3-424.24 NMSA 1978, in addition to all other fees collected by registration of vehicles pursuant to Section 66-3-1 NMSA 1978 or by registration of vehicles pursuant to the Motor Transportation Act, there is imposed on each registration, for each year covered by the registration, a front registration plate fee of two dollars ($2.00) to be retained by the department and appropriated to the department to defray the cost of making and issuing front registration plates."
SECTION 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.--
A. The effective date of the provisions of Sections 1 through 3 of this act is July 1, 2023.
B. The effective date of the provisions of Section 4 of this act is July 1, 2019.
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