HELENA — Montana’s specialty plate program works to support non-profits throughout Montana. For example, the program brought in over $5.5 million dollars for Montana non-profits in 2021 alone.
In 2001, the 57th Montana Legislature passed an act allowing Montana’s Motor Vehicle Division to issue specialty plates.
The first two plates offered were the Glacier National Park plate and the Lewis & Clark bicentennial plate.
Any non-profit can apply to have its own plate. Groups currently with plates include Prickly Pear Land Trust to the Eureka Montana Quilt Show. In addition to administration and production costs, the plates also require a donation to be given.
Currently, there are 235 specialty plates available and there’s an average of 6-8 new plates introduced bi-annually.
Montana sits as the fifth highest in terms of the number of license plates in the country, while Maryland currently holds the number 1 spot with over 700 plate options.
The Bird of Pray is Montana’s current number one specialty plate.
In 2019 the law changed in order to remove plates that weren’t receiving enough funding. The minimum requirement of plates sold is 400 sets with current registration after three years since the plate’s inception.
Plates are reviewed at the beginning of every year. At the beginning of 2022, 8 plates were revoked.
If a plate goes out of commission, current owners of that plate must choose a new plate when they renew registration for that motor vehicle.
Laurie Bakri, Motor Vehicle Division Administrator, says that the plate program does a whole lot to support non-profits throughout Montana.
“I think it's very important that the citizens have a way to support their organizations that they care about. And we're just really happy to be a part of that process where people can support their organization easily,” says Bakri.
Discontinued Montana license plates since the beginning of 2022:
- Montana Fire Trustees
- Belgrade Education Foundation
- Montana Diva Foundation
- Montanan Community Development Corporation
- Montana Youth and Family Camps
- Rocky Mountain Student Scholarship
Editor's Note: The original article incorrectly listed Recycle Montana as a plate that would be going way. MTN was provided data by MVD for which plates would be removed by the state, but later sent a correction.