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Cunningham, Turner, Gill Bill to Authorize Delta Sigma Theta License Plates Clears Senate

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senator Nia H. Gill that would authorize the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to issue special Delta Sigma Theta license plates cleared the Senate today.

In addition to all fees otherwise required by law for the registration of a motor vehicle, the bill would provide for an application fee of $50 and an annual renewal fee of $10 for the Delta Sigma Theta plates.  After deducting the cost of designing, producing, issuing, renewing, publicizing and implementing the license plate program, in an amount not to exceed $150,000, the additional fees would be deposited into a special non-lapsing fund known as the “Delta Sigma Theta License Plate Fund.”

“Since its inception, the Delta Sigma Theta sorority has distinguished itself with historical actions that have propelled America toward heightened justice and equality,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson).  “Two months after its founding in 1913, the sorority performed its first public act, joining the March for Women’s Suffrage in Washington, D.C.  This weekend, 105 years later, it continues its decades-long march for the disenfranchised, marginalized and vulnerable by peacefully joining a rally in Washington once again, this time in the name of mistreated immigrant children and families at the Texas border.

“So when we purchase the Delta Sigma Theta license plates, we are supporting this noble organization and contributing to its ongoing efforts to make a difference in our world.  We help fund their involvement not only in civic and social justice, but in the academic achievement of young students, the health of mothers and babies, the welfare of H.I.V. orphans and a host of other vital concerns in the U.S. and abroad.  It would be an honor for any of us to display the Delta Sigma Theta insignia on our license plates.”

“With clarity, commitment and compassion, the women of Delta Sigma Theta leverage established programs in local communities throughout the world to impact the lives of those who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer).  “These license plates help recognize the sorority’s well-earned reputation as a force for good across the globe.”

“As Delta Sigma Theta boldly confronts the challenges of African Americans, it elevates all of America to a place of greater dignity and wellbeing,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic).  “The work of these fierce, intelligent women is worthy of support as the sorority continues to transform our world.”

The bill, S-2618, would provide that no state or other public funds could be used by MVC for the initial production or publicity costs and that the Delta Sigma Theta Eastern Region Director, or a designated representative would contribute monies in an amount to be determined by the chief administrator of the MVC, not to exceed a total of $25,000, to be used to offset the startup costs.  Once the sorority submits those monies, along with a minimum of 500 completed applications for the plates, their design would be chosen by the MVC chief administrator in consultation with the Eastern Regional Director to honor the sorority with appropriate words or a slogan and an emblem.

The chief administrator would be required to annually certify the average cost per license plate in producing, issuing, renewing, and publicizing the Delta Sigma Theta license plates.  If the average cost exceeds $50 for two consecutive fiscal years, the chief administrator could discontinue the license plate program.

The bill was approved with a 37-0 vote.