What has become an annual effort to eliminate one of the license plates our vehicles have to carry is under study by a state senate committee. Senator Will Krause of Lee’s Summit has been trying for the three years he’s been in the Senate. “This will save the state about $1.5 million,” he says. Opponents, however, say cutting the number of plates will drive up the per-plate production costs.
Krause says 19 states, including five of Missouri’s eight neighbors, require only one plate now. But critics of his bill say that means 31 states still think they’re useful.
Law enforcement agencies say Krause’s bill is a bad idea.
Highway Patrol Corporal Michael Halford, speaking for the state troopers association, says the front plate is valuable for solving crimes. “Removal of that front license plate will cut in half the opportunity for witnesses, victims, and officers to identify the proper vehicle. Also the front license plate is typically left behind at a leave-the-scene crash,” he tells the Senate Transportation Committee.
Wentzville police chief Lisa Harrison used to work in Florida, a one-plate state, says fighting crime in Missouri is much easier because this is a two-plate state.”That license plate is caught on cameras, not necessarily cameras put up by the state, but at ATMs, at banks, at your convenience stores. Those types of things will capture that front plate because people pull in; they don’t back in.” She says criminals in Florida began backing into their driveways so police could not see the rear license plate. Officers could not go on the property to check the plate because of federal search and seizure standards.
The committee continues to study Krause’s latest attempt.