JEFFERSON CITY — Cutting the front license plate requirement will save Missouri $3 million, said Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, before the measure received first-round Senate approval.
The change was added on to a bill that modified some laws dealing with automobiles The bill, passed by the Senate on Wednesday, includes upping the requirement to qualify for special license plates for fleet vehicles. The Senate must approve the bill again before it can go to the House.
"Why is it that Missouri makes us waste all the metal, the paint, the effort to have two license plates, one on the front and one on the back?" Bartle asked. "It's silly, doesn't need to happen. We are in a terrible budget crisis and having two license plates is a luxury we can no longer afford."
While the State Highway Patrol is neither for nor against the bill, its spokesman said the front license plate helps in a variety of ways when trying to identify vehicles.
"It's much easier for witnesses to get a description of that plate and possibly a license number," said Highway Patrol spokesman, Lt. John Hotz. "Also, if you have a license plate on the front of a vehicle that strikes another car and then, for example, leaves the scene, often times the imprint of that plate can be left on the other vehicle."
Bartle said the Patrol already deals with drivers from other states, such as Kansas, that require only one license plate. Missouri is one of about 30 states that requires two.
"I'm suggesting that if all these other states can get by, if law enforcement can get by in all these other states with one license plate, it is silly" to require two, Bartle said.
Sen. Yvonne Wilson, D-Jackson County, disputed Bartle's comment that police don't have problems with out-of-state cars with only one license plate.