Okay, so the license plates given to state legislators in Colorado aren’t actually magical, but they are invisible, at least on the state Dept. of Motor Vehicle database, thus allowing some scofflaw lawmakers (scofflawmakers?) to get out of hundreds of dollars in parking and speeding tickets.
According to CBS Denver, the info for these particular license plates is never entered into the DMV database, so when some state senator goes zooming by a speed camera, he or she won’t get a ticket, because the camera system looks up the license plate number through the DMV. Since no info comes up, no ticket is given.
This appears to be true for parking tickets as well. See, even though a parking enforcement officer might leave a ticket on the car, cities like Denver that rely on the DMV for addresses of vehicle owners come up empty when they try to collect on those tickets.
CBS has a PDF showing several examples of parking tickets given to cars with state legislature plates that have gone uncollected because of this “glitch,” that we have a hunch is probably not a glitch at all.
“Because the Department of Public Works relies on the DMV Database to contact people with unpaid parking tickets we are not able to contact legislators with unpaid parking tickets,” a rep for the DPW tells the station.
At first, the rep said it was going to endeavor to collect from those lawmakers responsible for $2,100 in unpaid tickets… then it decided that it would be too costly. But it’s probably not too costly for the DPW to collect from people who don’t hold the state’s purse strings in their hands.
The plates are not tied to state-issued vehicles. They are given to each of the 100 men and women who make up the state legislature in Colorado for use on their own vehicles.
One state lawmaker recently stated his intention to close this loophole through legislative action in the next session, by simply doing away with the plates altogether.
“[I]t’s absolutely unfair,” said state representative Chris Holbert. “We should be held accountable like any other citizen. We are elected to represent the people and there’s no reason for us to be treated differently.”