Arizona Coyotes License Plate Massacre

plate1Senate Bill 1480 (SB1480) was shot down on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by the Arizona State Senate with a 14-14-2 vote. The 2 doesn’t signify an overtime loss, it means two Senators didn’t bother to vote. Sixteen votes are required to pass the bill.

Something happened between the “Third Reading” of SB1480 on March 20 and the vote on April 23, because there were enough Senate votes to pass the bill 19-11 with everybody voting in March.


If you look at the voting table below, you will see the two people that didn’t vote listed at the top. In the March vote, Ableser voted “no” and Reagan voted “yes”. So, if they didn’t flip their votes, the vote would have been 15-15 and the bill would not have passed.

The people that changed their vote from “yes” (in March) to “no” (in April) are marked in yellow. There are six of them and they are all Republicans.

The people that changed their vote from “no” to “yes” are marked in grey. There are two of them and they are both Democrats.

So, we have to wonder what changed in the bill or the circumstances surrounding it that would cause those six Republicans to decide it needed to be rejected? Why didn’t the other ten Republicans change their votes as well? Was is because they knew there would already be enough “no” votes to kill it?

Five Million Dollar Bumper Stickers

Because of the proliferation of special plates, Senator Farley (D-Tucson) has been pushing for an end to special plates, including the ones already being distributed. He sponsored HB2313 in 2012 (click here for story) to kill new production of most special plates AND to redirect the existing plate owners fees from the charity associated with the plate into a state fund.

At the time, for example, sales of ASU plates were directing revenue ($17 per plate per year) to the Medallion Scholarship Program. So, as expected, there was some pushback from ASU:

“Hundreds of students have graduated from ASU as a direct result of the sale of those Sparky plates,” said Tracy Scott, spokeswoman for the ASU Alumni Association.

Farley’s flippant answer at the time to the charities?

“Sell a bumper sticker each year, make it fashionable and charge $25.”

According to the DMV website, $2,210,472 comes to the state from special plates every year and the associated charities receive close to $5M a year from the plates.

The Scorecard

How They Voted on SB1480

Didn’t bother to vote
Ed Ableser 26 D 602-926-4118
Michele Reagan 23 R 602-926-5828
Judy Burges 22 R 602-926-5861
Olivia Cajero Bedford 3 D 602-926-5835
Andrea Dalessandro 2 D 602-926-5342
Steve Farley 9 D 602-926-3022
David Farnsworth 16 R 602-926-3020
Steve Gallardo 29 D 602-926-5830
Katie Hobbs 24 D 602-926-5325
Barbara McGuire 8 D 602-926-5836
Al Melvin 11 R 602-926-4326
Lynne Pancrazi 4 D 602-926-3004
Steve Pierce 1 R 602-926-5584
Don Shooter 13 R 602-926-4139
Anna Tovar 19 D 602-926-3392
Kelli Ward 5 R 602-926-4138
Nancy Barto 15 R 602-926-5766
Carlyle Begay 7 D 602-926-5862
Andy Biggs 12 R 602-926-4371
David Bradley 10 D 602-926-5262
Chester Crandell 6 R 602-926-5409
Adam Driggs 28 R 602-926-3016
Gail Griffin 14 R 602-926-5895
Leah Landrum Taylor 27 D 602-926-3830
John McComish 18 R 602-926-5898
Robert Meza 30 D 602-926-3425
Rick Murphy 21 R 602-926-4444
Bob Worsley 25 R 602-926-5760
Steve Yarbrough 17 R 602-926-5863
Kimberly Yee 20 R 602-926-3024


Same Old, Same Old

plate2If you look at the vote, with few exceptions there was little crossing of party lines in the original March vote. If you were a Democrat, you went with your compadre Farley and voted “no”. Conversely, if you were a Republican, you voted against Farley and voted “yes”.

I don’t know, yet, what happened to make all those Republicans and the two Democrats decide to flip their votes.

It seems clear that it’s just simple partisan politics, however.

If you look at the votes, see how your Senator voted. If they did something you like, let them know.

And, of course, vice-versa.


  1. […] voting on the SB1480 “license plate” bill on April 23, they decided to shoot it down. Click here for a clearer definition of that […]