On Wednesday, law enforcement officials and concerned citizens from across Texas arrived in Austin to express their support for a bill that could potentially put an end to fraudulent license plates. HB 718, filed by Fort Worth area Representative Craig Goldman, seeks to eliminate paper tags altogether, an issue that has become increasingly concerning to police departments.
Grand Prairie Police Chief Daniel Scesney and several of his officers made the trip to the House Transportation Committee to present their case. In November, a GPPD officer tragically lost their life during a car chase of a vehicle with a fraudulent paper plate. “Anyone with a computer and a printer can create a fraudulent paper tag,” Scesney told the committee members before demonstrating how easy it is to make one, producing a convincing fake in less than two minutes.
Tawny Solbrig, a Texas mother, also spoke about her own loss, her 17-year-old son who had been hit head-on by a driver of a truck with a fake license plate. Her remarks challenged the committee to take action and not sweep the issue under the rug.
Not everyone present was in favor of the bill, with the Texas Auto Dealers Association raising the issue of how to safely store metal plates and the tax assessor-collecters concerned about the impact on smaller counties. Goldman has already made amendments to the bill, extending the timeline for the elimination of paper plates from September 2023 to March 2025.
Despite the challenges, Goldman is confident that with the right help, he can get the bill to the finish line. He expressed his desire to include as many of the stakeholders in the conversation as possible in order to move forward. Chief Scesney was equally determined, vowing to “scream it from the rooftops” until paper tags in Texas are no more.