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Pink License Plate For Breast Cancer Stalled In California Legislature While Retro Plate Hits The Streets

by Tim Fang
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Supporters are hoping a pink California license plate will increase breast cancer awareness. (PinkPlate.com)

Supporters are hoping a pink California license plate will increase breast cancer awareness. (PinkPlate.com)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While California’s retro black and yellow license plates are heading to production, a group of breast cancer survivors wonders why their bill to create pink license plates remains stalled in legislative committee.

The California Pink Plate Campaign was started by four Contra Costa County women who call themselves the “Survivor Sisters.” The proposed plate would have a pink background and pink ribbon, with the slogan “Early Detection Saves Lives” below the numbers.

Last year, the group brought their idea of a license plate to Assemblymember Joan Buchanan. She authored AB 49, which was unanimously passed by the Assembly last May before heading to the Senate where things hit the brakes.

The breast cancer plate bill was eventually brought to the State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee controlled by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D) East Bay.  Last August, his committee redirected the pink plate bill to the Rules Committee, where it has been stalled ever since.

Heather McCollough of the California Pink Plate Campaign told CBS San Francisco the situation over the plate is “disheartening,” especially as they see the black and yellow plates hitting the streets.

McCollough and other plate supporters are urging Sen. DeSaulnier to help resurrect the legislation. The group met with the senator several times since the bill was redirected to the Rules Committee, controlled by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D) Sacramento.

The group noted that DeSaulnier approved the “Legacy Plate” program, which allows drivers to buy plates similar to those issued by the state in past decades. Last week, the DMV said it would begin producing black and yellow plates that look like ones made in the 1960s.

DeSaulnier is also backing a specialty plate for organ donors called the “Pink Dot Plate,” McCollough said.

McCollough said the California Pink Plate Campaign has answered concerns about the plate’s legibility from the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol. They also had a sample plate produced before hearings–something that no other proposed specialty plate supporter had done.

Sam Mahood, communications director of DeSaulnier, said in a written statement, “AB 49 was moved back by the Rules Committee,” and directed all inquiries to Steinberg’s office.

DeSaulnier voted for AB 49 in committee last July, where it passed unanimously, before getting stuck in the next part of the process.

CBS San Francisco has reached out to Steinberg’s office for comment. A phone call and email were not immediately returned.

McCollough said the group has recently talked to Buchanan and that they are “still fighting” for their bill to be heard on the floor of the State Senate before the legislative session ends in August.

“We want the same rights as the Legacy Plates,” McCollough said.

If AB 49 is not heard, the legislation would have to be reintroduced in the next session. Buchanan is termed out, and McCollough said they would need to find another sponsor for their bill.

In the meantime, the group has launched a petition for the plate at change.org.

If the plates are produced, proceeds would go to a state funded program called “Every Woman Counts.” The program provides free screening and mammograms to uninsured and underprivileged women.

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