Lawmakers Debate If Ohio Vehicles Need 2 Plates

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If a couple of state representatives get their way, you will no longer need to have a license plate on the front of your vehicle.

State Rep. Stephen Slesnick, D-Canton, and State Rep. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, introduced House Bill 133 in April. Slesnick is on record saying the move would be a cost-saving measure.

"I think it's a great idea,” said Grove City resident Bill Walton.

Walton had just picked up some new plates from an Ohio BMV office when asked about the proposed legislation. He said having to get two plates can be frustrating.

"When I bought my car here recently, they brought it in from out of state and it didn't have a front license plate holder on it and I had to go back and get one just so I could get a front license plate on it,” Walton said. "Why make two plates when you could only make one?"

It is a philosophy Ohio’s neighboring states seem to share.

Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan all require just a single license plate on vehicles.

The latest numbers from the Ohio Legislative Service Commission suggest the state could save about $1.3 million by not issuing a front plate.

But not everyone is sold on the idea of abandoning the front license plate in Ohio, especially law enforcement.

"I think it's best for the police, and ultimately it's better for the citizens, to have as much identifying features on a vehicle to help them out in their time of need,” said Jeff Simpson, Vice President of the Capital City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9.

Simpson said it would be more difficult for cops to do their jobs if vehicles were to only carry one plate.

He says an example can be seen in license plate readers on police cruisers. Simpson said they work better when there are two plates to spot on a stolen vehicle.

He said an extra plate is an extra chance to stop crime.

"It's one more tool that the police have to identify that car as quickly as possible,” Simpson said.

Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, agrees.

“(Front-end plates) are too important of a law enforcement tool for investigative purposes,” he said.

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