Specialty License Plates

HELENA - More than 80 specialty license plates have been revoked under a new rule in Montana. 

A list from the state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) includes 85 plates from nonprofits and other organizations that are no longer available to drivers. 

Several animal shelters in Western Montana were among the list of non-profits. 

The Humane Society of Western Montana, AniMeals, The Stafford Animal Shelter, and the Bitter Root Humane Association all lost their licence plates, and in turn, major funding.

"So we were averaging about $10,000 a year, so that is going to be a loss for us," Humane society of Western Montana Development Manager Katie Hofschield said. "It was a good source of income for our operating costs." 

"$7,000 to $7,500 in income for us every year so we are going to miss that a lot," Bitter Root Humane Association Treasurer, Linda Williams said.

The legislature approved the new rules in 2019 and starting this year any specialty plate with less than 400 plates out on the road will be discontinued. But some say that number is too high.

"When we got the count back we were at 377, so we were what 23 short? That's it," Williams said.

The Humane Society of Western Montana is still waiting to get their count back, in the meantime they're trying to figure out how to make up for that lost income.

"We are just trying to be more creative," Hofschield said.

The Montana Department of Justice, which oversees the MVD, said there are approximately 210 specialty plates currently available for purchase.

MVD will review plate sales and notify sponsors annually.

Organizations with discontinued specialty plates can re-apply four years after their revocation date. If approved, they have three years to get 400 plates on the road.

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