(1) The department is responsible for developing the specialty license plates authorized in s. 320.08053. (2)(a) The department shall issue a specialty license plate to the owner or lessee of any motor vehicle, except a vehicle registered under the International Registration Plan, a commercial truck required to display two license plates pursuant to s. 320.0706, or a truck tractor, upon request and payment of the appropriate license tax and fees.
(b) The department may authorize dealer and fleet specialty license plates. With the permission of the sponsoring specialty license plate organization, a dealer or fleet company may purchase specialty license plates to be used on dealer and fleet vehicles.
(c) Notwithstanding s. 320.08058, a dealer or fleet specialty license plate must include the letters “DLR” or “FLT” on the right side of the license plate. Dealer and fleet specialty license plates must be ordered directly from the department. (3) Each request must be made annually to the department or an authorized agent serving on behalf of the department, accompanied by the following tax and fees: (a) The license tax required for the vehicle as set forth in s. 320.08.
(b) A processing fee of $5, to be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund.
(c) A license plate fee as required by s. 320.06(1)(b). (d) Unless the amount of an annual use fee is otherwise specified in subsection (4) for a particular specialty license plate, an annual use fee of $25 for any specialty license plate that is required to be developed under s. 320.08058.
A request may be made any time during a registration period. If a request is made for a specialty license plate to replace a current valid license plate, the specialty license plate must be issued with appropriate decals attached at no tax for the plate, but all fees and service charges must be paid. If a request is made for a specialty license plate at the beginning of the registration period, the tax, together with all applicable fees and service charges, must be paid.
(4) The following license plate annual use fees shall be collected for the appropriate specialty license plates:
(a) Challenger/Columbia license plate, $25, except that a person who purchases 1,000 or more of such license plates shall pay an annual use fee of $15 per plate.
(b) Florida Salutes Veterans license plate, $15.
(c) Florida United States Olympic Committee license plate, $15.
(d) Florida Special Olympics license plate, $15.
(e) Florida educational license plate, $20.
(f) Florida Indian River Lagoon license plate, $15.
(g) Invest in Children license plate, $20.
(h) Florida arts license plate, $20.
(i) Florida Agricultural license plate, $20.
(j) Police Athletic League license plate, $20.
(k) Boy Scouts of America license plate, $20.
(l) Sea Turtle license plate, $23.
(m) Protect Wild Dolphins license plate, $20.
(n) Everglades River of Grass license plate, $20.
(o) Tampa Bay Estuary license plate, $15.
(p) Florida Wildflower license plate, $15.
(q) United States Marine Corps license plate, $15.
(r) Choose Life license plate, $20.
(s) Share the Road license plate, $15.
(t) Florida Firefighters license plate, $20.
(u) Police Benevolent Association license plate, $20.
(v) Military Services license plate, $15.
(w) Fish Florida license plate, $22.
(x) Save Our Seas license plate, $25, except that for an owner purchasing the specialty license plate for more than 10 vehicles registered to that owner, the annual use fee shall be $10 per plate.
(y) Aquaculture license plate, $25, except that for an owner purchasing the specialty license plate for more than 10 vehicles registered to that owner, the annual use fee shall be $10 per plate.
(5) If a vehicle owner or lessee to whom the department has issued a specialty license plate acquires a replacement vehicle within the owner’s registration period, the department must authorize a transfer of the specialty license plate to the replacement vehicle in accordance with s. 320.0609. The annual use fee or processing fee may not be refunded.
(6) Specialty license plates must bear the design required by law for the appropriate specialty license plate, and the designs and colors must conform to the department’s design specifications. In addition to a design, the specialty license plates may bear the imprint of numerals from 1 to 999, inclusive, capital letters “A” through “Z,” or a combination thereof. The department shall determine the maximum number of characters, including both numerals and letters. All specialty license plates must be otherwise of the same material and size as standard license plates issued for any registration period. A specialty license plate may bear an appropriate slogan, emblem, or logo in a size and placement that conforms to the department’s design specifications. The sponsoring organization’s Internet domain name may appear on the plate.
(7) The department shall annually retain from the first proceeds derived from the annual use fees collected an amount sufficient to defray each specialty plate’s pro rata share of the department’s costs directly related to the specialty license plate program. Such costs shall include inventory costs, distribution costs, direct costs to the department, costs associated with reviewing each organization’s compliance with audit and attestation requirements of s. 320.08062, and any applicable increased costs of manufacturing the specialty license plate. Any cost increase to the department related to actual cost of the plate, including a reasonable vendor profit, shall be verified by the Department of Management Services. The balance of the proceeds from the annual use fees collected for that specialty license plate shall be distributed as provided by law. (8)(a) The department must discontinue the issuance of an approved specialty license plate if the number of valid specialty plate registrations falls below 3,000, or in the case of an out-of-state college or university license plate, 4,000, for at least 12 consecutive months. The department shall mail a warning letter to the sponsoring organization following the first month in which the total number of valid specialty plate registrations is below 3,000, or in the case of an out-of-state college or university license plate, 4,000. This paragraph does not apply to in-state collegiate license plates established under s. 320.08058(3), license plates of institutions in and entities of the State University System, specialty license plates that have statutory eligibility limitations for purchase, specialty license plates for which annual use fees are distributed by a foundation for student and teacher leadership programs and teacher recruitment and retention, or Florida Professional Sports Team license plates established under s. 320.08058(9). (b) The department is authorized to discontinue the issuance of a specialty license plate and distribution of associated annual use fee proceeds if the organization no longer exists, if the organization has stopped providing services that are authorized to be funded from the annual use fee proceeds, if the organization does not meet the presale requirements as prescribed in s. 320.08053, or pursuant to an organizational recipient’s request. Organizations shall notify the department immediately to stop all warrants for plate sales if any of the conditions in this section exist and must meet the requirements of s. 320.08062 for any period of operation during a fiscal year.
(c) A vehicle owner or lessee issued a specialty license plate that has been discontinued by the department may keep the discontinued specialty license plate for the remainder of the 10-year license plate replacement period and must pay all other applicable registration fees. However, such owner or lessee is exempt from paying the applicable specialty license plate annual use fee under paragraph (3)(d) or subsection (4) for the remainder of the 10-year license plate replacement period.
(d) If the department discontinues issuance of a specialty license plate, all annual use fees held or collected by the department shall be distributed within 180 days after the date the specialty license plate is discontinued. Of those fees, the department shall retain an amount sufficient to defray the applicable administrative and inventory closeout costs associated with discontinuance of the plate. All remaining proceeds shall be distributed to the appropriate organization or organizations pursuant to s. 320.08058. (e) If an organization that is the intended recipient of the funds pursuant to s. 320.08058 no longer exists, the department shall deposit any undisbursed proceeds into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund.
(f) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), on January 1 of each year, the department shall discontinue the specialty license plate with the fewest number of plates in circulation, including license plates exempt from a statutory sales requirement. The department shall mail a warning letter to the sponsoring organizations of the 10 percent of specialty license plates with the lowest number of valid, active registrations as of December 1 of each year.
(9) The organization that requested the specialty license plate may not redesign the specialty license plate unless the inventory of those plates has been depleted. However, the organization may purchase the remaining inventory of the specialty license plates from the department at cost.
(10)(a) A specialty license plate annual use fee collected and distributed under this chapter, or any interest earned from those fees, may not be used for commercial or for-profit activities nor for general or administrative expenses, except as authorized by s. 320.08058 or to pay the cost of the audit or report required by s. 320.08062(1). The fees and any interest earned from the fees may be expended only for use in this state unless the annual use fee is derived from the sale of United States Armed Forces and veterans-related specialty license plates pursuant to paragraph (3)(d) for the Support Our Troops, American Legion, and Honor Flight license plates; paragraphs (4)(b), (q), and (v) for the Florida Salutes Veterans, United States Marine Corps, and Military Services license plates, respectively; and s. 320.0891 for the U.S. Paratrooper license plate. (b) As used in this subsection, the term “administrative expenses” means those expenditures which are considered as direct operating costs of the organization. Such costs include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Administrative salaries of employees and officers of the organization who do not or cannot prove, via detailed daily time sheets, that they actively participate in program activities.
2. Bookkeeping and support services of the organization.
3. Office supplies and equipment not directly utilized for the specified program.
4. Travel time, per diem, mileage reimbursement, and lodging expenses not directly associated with a specified program purpose.
5. Paper, printing, envelopes, and postage not directly associated with a specified program purpose.
6. Miscellaneous expenses such as food, beverage, entertainment, and conventions.
(11) The annual use fee from the sale of specialty license plates, the interest earned from those fees, or any fees received by any entity as a result of the sale of specialty license plates may not be used for the purpose of marketing to, or lobbying, entertaining, or rewarding, an employee of a governmental agency that is responsible for the sale and distribution of specialty license plates, or an elected member or employee of the Legislature.
(12) Notwithstanding s. 320.08058(3)(a), the department, in cooperation with the independent colleges or universities as described in s. 1009.89, shall create a standard template specialty license plate with a unique logo or graphic identifying each independent college or university. Each independent college or university may elect to use this standard template specialty license plate in lieu of its own specialty license plate. Annual use fees from the sale of these license plates shall be distributed to the independent college or university for which the logo or graphic is displayed on the license plate and shall be used as provided in s. 320.08058(3). An independent college or university opting to use the standard template specialty license plate shall have the standard template specialty license plate sales added to the total number of remaining current valid registrations under paragraph (8)(a) for the formerly separate independent college and university license plates which were issued before the independent college or university elected to use the standard template specialty license plate for purposes of the standard template specialty license plate meeting the minimum license plate sales threshold in paragraph (8)(a) and for determining the license plate limit in s. 320.08053(3)(b). Specialty license plates created pursuant to this subsection must be ordered directly from the department. If the independent college or university elects to use the standard template specialty license plate, the department shall discontinue the existing specialty license plate and, notwithstanding paragraph (8)(c), shall continue to collect the applicable specialty license plate annual use fee under paragraph (3)(d) or subsection (4) for the remainder of the 10-year license plate replacement period for the existing plate being discontinued or being replaced with the standard template specialty license plate.
(13) For out-of-state college or university license plates created pursuant to this section, documentation acceptable to the department that the department has the college’s or university’s consent to use an appropriate image on a license plate shall be on file with the department prior to development of the out-of-state college or university license plate.
(14) Before the issuance of vouchers for the presale of an out-of-state college or university license plate, the department shall determine whether the state in which the out-of-state college or university is located has authorized any license plates for colleges or universities located in this state. The department may not issue any out-of-state college or university license plate unless the state in which the college or university is located has authorized license plates for colleges or universities located in this state.
(15) The application form for a specialty license plate shall provide the applicant the option to instruct the department to provide his or her name, address, and renewal date to the sponsoring organization.