On Thursday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed Falls Church’s Delegate Marcus Simon’s bill to create a new Virginia license plate with the message “Stop Gun Violence” into law. During the 2018 General Assembly Session, Del. Simon (HD-53) introduced HB 287 to create the specialty license plate. The bill faced many hurdles in the House and the Senate, but ultimately passed both chambers.
“Who would’ve thought it would’ve taken this much effort to get a little old license plate bill through the legislature? I’m grateful to the Governor for signing this bill even though we had to get a little creative to make the process work,” said Del. Simon today.
Supporters of the effort collected more than 450 prepaid applications for the $10 cost of a new specialty plate. On the House floor, GOP House members amended the bill to make it a $25 revenue generating plate to raise money for mental health programs in the Commonwealth.
Ultimately Simon successfully amended the bill so that the DMV will honor the existing prepaid applications, and the increase won’t be effective until 2020.
Carol Luten, a constituent of Delegate Simon’s, was the driving force behind HB 287. She campaigned for two years to collect the required 450 prepaid applications.
“As grassroots gun violence prevention advocates, we rested our faith and mission on these words from St. Francis of Assissi, ‘If you start by doing what is necessary, and then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ So keep the faith, and don’t lose hope, for everyone has the ability to create change,” said Luten.
The bill will go into effect on July 1st and the plates will be available later this year.