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AUGUSTA, ME - Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap accepted applications from 2,000 Maine motor vehicle owners and a check for $40,000 this afternoon from state Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess, R-Cumberland, to initiate the authorization of the Breast Cancer Awareness Specialty Registration Plate. Senator Dennis Damon, D-Hancock, Senate Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation also participated in the presentation which took place in the Transportation Committee hearing room at the State Capitol.

  Specialty registration plates are made available for motor vehicle owners who wish to support the causes that specialty plates represent. An additional $20 is paid by the registrant to obtain the plate, and $15 at each renewal, which is dedicated to the various representative causes. Current specialty plates include the Conservation, or loon plate, the Lobster plate, the University of Maine System and Black Bear plates, the Agriculture plate, and the Support Our Troops plate.

  When Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess began the process, Maine law (Title 29-A MRSA section 468) stipulated that in order for the Legislature to consider authorizing new plate issuances, proponents must obtain names, signatures, and current registration numbers from 2,000 vehicle owners along with $40,000 - or twenty dollars per registration - in order to assure that there is a demonstrated interest and to defray start-up costs. The Legislature also approves the final design of new plates as well.

  Rep. Strang Burgess submitted LD 775, An Act to Create a Special License Plate to Support Breast Cancer Support Services last year. Since the bill was first considered, she has been vigorously active in meeting the requirements of current law. "We've completed the big hurdle," she said, "We are all very energized by this project, and are looking forward to this plate being available soon."

  Senator Dennis Damon commended the effort. "This law was established in order to protect the investment of Maine motorists in these plates," he said. "We have a great many worthy causes that can benefit from specialty plates, and this is one I certainly support, but we only have so much capacity to produce new plates. I think the advocates for the Breast Cancer plate have done a marvelous job, and I don't doubt this proposal will be embraced by the committee."

  The Committee on Transportation will now resume its work on the plate proposal. Once that work is complete, the Secretary of State will be responsible for the production and distribution of the plates for motorists desiring them. "This has been an impressive effort by a lot of people," said Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. "This type of effort requires a great commitment and tremendous organization, and the supporters of this effort have done a great job. I am happy to work with the committee to make sure the launch of this new plate is successful."

  The organizations that stand to benefit from the proceeds of the plate include the Maine Cancer Foundation, Breast Cancer Coalition, and the Maine Breast and Cervical Health Program.


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