Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Official Metal Proofs Are Approved!

I received the official metal proofs of the plate last week, which I will approve and send back to the DMV. It was so exciting to receive this in the mail and see it- for real!- on metal, actual colors, everything.

The colors look a little different than the original design- mainly the mountains. They're a little bolder and a little greener, and that's okay- it looks very environmental this way, plus I think they had to change it a little to make the numbers stand out, or possibly to not be confused with the other VA plate with mountains on it.

No matter the reason, it really does look great in person, and I like the green mountains even more than the blue, personally!

Their best guess is that we'll start receiving the plates in February.

What!? February? WHAT WILL WE DO TIL THEN!?
I know, I know. That was sort of my reaction, too. Apparently the metal that these are printed on isn't just sitting around in some warehouse waiting for awesome artwork to be printed on it (ha, ha). They make it on demand, which takes a while... and the holidays are coming, so coordinating all of the things with all of the parties involved gets complicated because of that. And, lastly, they have to actually go through all of the applications and personalize the personalized ones, etc. etc. Lots. Of. Work.

We've waited this long.... I hope when they arrive you're as excited as I was when I received this one and that they will be worth the wait :)

Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Application Delivery Day!

480 applications in the special new briefcase my wonderful
husband bought me specifically for license plate related stuff :)

Yesterday I was finally able to get a break from my other responsibilities and head down to Richmond with all of our applications. I'll admit the excitement was twofold: The obvious reason of being one HUGE step closer to getting our plates, but also because those applications are out of my hands now and I no longer have to deal with them! 

After three and a half years, I can call that part DONE!

Now that the DMV has real actual proof that we have enough (more than enough- 480, to be exact) applications to fulfill the requirement, they can start working on the artwork. I don't have a timeline for that, but that part of the process couldn't start until they had the applications in hand.

Not much else to report right now, but I'm excited that things can officialy start moving along on their end!! :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

PSA: Application Deadline is April 23

I've set a date for the last day I'll be taking applications and it's April 23.

Some folks have been having trouble downloading the application on the "Get Your Plate" tab, so if you click this link and fill out the short form, I can email an application and instructions to you:

(Or  click the "Home" tab at the top left of this page.)

My P. O. Box expires at the end of this month, and since it's almost $130 to renew it, I'm happily letting it expire! Let's put an end to this thing! 
(And it'll save me a little dough since I'm obviously paying for that kind of stuff out of pocket.)

Soon after the deadline (I'll allow a few days for the last applications to trickle in), I'll organize all of the applications to the DMV's standards and drive them down to DMV HQ in Richmond where they'll all be counted. Hopefully soon after that, I'll be working with their graphics department to finalize the plate design. Very exciting stuff!

Check back for updates!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SB259 Signed by Governor McAuliffe!

Oh, happy day to us! Governor McAuliffe has signed SB259 and now everything is official and I can breathe a much-needed huge sigh of relief!


As you can see in the photo, the bill is effective July 1st, so plates won't be mailed out until after that. I'll keep you posted as things progress and I have a better time frame in mind.

Now the real celebrating can begin!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SB259 marked "Approved!"

On Monday of this week, in the middle of Winter Storm Titan, SB259 had its 3rd reading in the Virginia House of Delegates and was passed in a block vote!

Pretty cool that we're the only new license plate to pass this year, eh?
(Apologies for the lack of quality in the video- I took it with my cell phone and not sure why it cut off so much of the left side of the screen. But you get the idea. And I like puns.)

My husband was home (his office closed due to the storm) and happened to walk in just before the reading of the bill, and got to see it pass with me. Then he went downstairs and returned with two glasses of wine so we could celebrate. I was still in the middle of work..... but I don't think the wine hindered my performance ;) 

And... Yes... I've been streaming the daily General Assembly sessions- mostly the Senate- live during the day while I do my work for the past 2 months. I am going to miss the General Assembly when their session ends on Saturday!

This morning when I checked the page that I stalk on a regular basis for updates on SB259 (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+sum+SB259), I saw that a couple of new things had happened. 


(It now says "Approved"!!) :)

So now it just needs to be signed by the Speaker of the House, and Lt. Governor Northam (whom I absolutely adore after watching all of these Senate sessions), and then it will go over to Governor McAuliffe's desk for the final signature!  

I'll keep ya posted as that happens. Hopefully it will get all of the signatures it needs within the next  couple of days.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finally! We're moving along again.

This past Monday, I headed down to Richmond once more since our bill was before House Transportation Subcommittee #3. It turns out I didn't need to really do anything... but it was nice to be there again and see what was going on. It was great to see Senator Deeds again as well (I am still amazed at his genuine positive energy and overall happiness- just the kind of person you want to be around), and was able to chat with him when I was MUCH more relaxed and not totally nervous like last time! Last time I was there, it was all firsts....  the first time visiting the Capitol and figuring out where everything was, the first time I was meeting Senator Deeds and his aide after talking with them for well over a year!, and the first time I ever had to go before a committee. I hadn't slept the night before and was excited but freaked out about the whole thing. This time, I knew more about what to expect and was only focused on the excited feelings. No nerves whatsoever.

And because of that, I also got to actually HEAR the vote this time, and knew we successfully passed the subcommittee (6-0).

This morning the Transportation Committee met, and passed SB259 through 22-0, so we're uncontested this time! Yay!!!

So if you check out this link, 
you'll see we're on the calendar for tomorrow (if you scroll way, way down to "Senate Bills on 2nd Reading - UNCONTESTED CALENDAR, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, HELL YEAH!!!!!" .....okay, the actual calendar doesn't say that last part.). 

They'll probably move them through in a block, which means MONDAY we should have the third and FINAL READING! After that, SB259 will make its way to Governor McAuliffe's desk and after he signs it, I guess I will need to find a new project to occupy me for a few more years. But in the mean time I'll continue verifying everyone's applications and keep folks updated ad things happen- I don't want to get too far ahead of myself and celebrate early and jinx things..............

Let's just say at this point, things are looking very, VERY good! :) I'm a very happy girl and none of this would have been possible without the support of many awesome people.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

We Bee in SubcommitTee

Hi folks!

For those of you who are keeping up with the SB259 in the general assembly, I wanted to let you know we've been assigned to the House Transportation Committee and assigned to the sub-committee that seems to deal with all of the new plates.


I sent an email to the House Committees email account to provide written testimony in favor of the bill, since I probably won't be able to go do it in person. I also sent one to the Chairman of this subcommittee, Delegate Hugo, to try and make sure he received the testimony before the next subcommittee meeting, which is tomorrow at 4:00pm.

Since we're approaching crossover- when the Senate has to finish with all of their bills and send them to the House, and vice-versa- I am not sure if SB259 will go through committee this week or next week.

Just wanted to provide an update since not a lot has been happening, and hope everyone is doing well.

Take care,

Friday, January 31, 2014

SB259 Passed the Senate!

Oh yes we did!

Once again, not being on the uncontested calendar, our bill had to be read and then Senator Deeds had to defend it.
(Sorry, Senator Deeds. Thanks for doing this.)

If you watch the video, please ignore the apparent snicker or sigh that happens around 8 seconds in.
...I'll bet I have a 33.3% chance of guessing who that was!

Anyway. The awesome news is..... We passed the Senate.
Now we go "down the hall" (as they say) to the House.

The House seemed like it had 483928734 different license plate bills coming up this year; I'm not sure how many made it through, but I hope they will be nice to us.

Gotta go work on my Richmond Environmental Film Festival presentation now but will be updating as I see more updates from the General Assembly.

Take care,

Monday, January 27, 2014

On to the 3rd reading!


I'm allowed to be silly and giddy with excitement.....

SB259 was engrossed and advanced to its 3rd reading today! Hooray!

Back when I first started following this session of the General Assembly, I would have had no idea what that meant. But now I know that it meant the bill successfully passed its 2nd reading.

...The reading where legislators can start some drama... if they want.

Last week when the bill reported to Senate from Committee, it passed 12-1. I was a little bummed- but not surprised- about the 1 "No."
But today, I was really excited about it.

Because it meant that I got THIS:

30 seconds of awesome.

So, I'll explain.

If the vote had gone 13-0, the bill would have been in the "uncontested" calendar. Usually they go through the uncontested bills pretty fast- a senator (not sure yet how they pick who does this; this session it seems like it is always Senator Norment) will move that all bills on the uncontested calendar on their (x) reading be engrossed and advanced to the next step. Then they vote to advance them all forward as a group, and afterward, the clerk reads out just the numbers of all of the bills in the group, in case a senator wants to speak up about a specific bill before moving forward, or delay it for a day.... etc.

But the bills that aren't uncontested- meaning, they had at least one "No" against them- go on the Regular Calendar.

These are usually each read individually- the number, title, and a summary. Then the sponsoring Senator will stand and move that the bill be engrossed and advanced. Then the senate votes (the 2nd reading is a voice vote).
So Watkins' vote "No" on SB259 pretty much got the Pollinator Plates their very own personal shout-out on the floor today.
Pretty sweet, eh?!
(You have to find the positive in everything, right?)

Tomorrow the bill will go to its 3rd reading. I am not 100% certain whether it will be grouped in with the uncontested bills and voted on as a group, or individually. But tomorrow's vote will be with the voting machine, not a voice vote.

(Friday, when the bills on their first reading came up, the bills in the uncontested calendar and regular calendar- which included ours- were all engrossed and advanced together. It was slightly anticlimatic but still a good thing and exciting. But not as interesting of a video to share!)

If it passes tomorrow, SB259 will go to the House and (I think) to their Transportation Committee, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. I would guess this coming Thursday they would get to it; but if not, probably next Tuesday. And after that, the house will vote.
After it goes through the house, it's on its way to Governor McAuliffe's desk! :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SB259 Reports to Senate from Transportation Committee!

(If you're like I was a month ago and not totally familiar with the process, that's GOOD news!)

Well, what an exciting day I had today. I'm not even sure where to begin... But you can scroll down to the bottom of this post if you don't like stories, and you will see that the Senate Transportation Committee voted in favor of the license plates, and they'll go to the Senate Thursday (tomorrow) or Friday. Yay!!

Last week, Senator Deeds' aide emailed me to ask if I could be in Richmond today (Jan 22) to testify on behalf of the bill in front of the Senate Transportation Committee.
I had planned to be there anyway when it was introduced, just to see for myself what happened..... but now that I knew my presence could possibly help the bill, there was no way I wasn't going.

...Even with Winter Storm Janus possibly threatening to keep me imprisoned at home.


I would've walked to a bus stop, at worst, and somehow, some way, found a way to get to Richmond.
Except I didn't have to resort to that, because last year I traded in my cute yellow car and got a practical and fun SUV with all-wheel-drive that was pretty much made for this weather. Thus, this morning I woke up early and dressed in the outfit it only took me 3 hours to pick out (heyyy, many, MANY outfits must be considered for serious business like this). Then I loaded ALL 473 of the applications, my lunch, coffee, a pair of black gardening clogs (for walking in the slush), and myself into my lil' Subie and set out on the unpaved roads.

I was certain that I-95 would be full of people driving 30 mph and it would take me at least 3 hours to get down to Richmond. But not too many people were out, the roads were surprisingly nice, and I made it down there by 11:00am. I found parking and walked only 2 or 3 blocks to the Capitol complex, but it was freeeeeeeezing. It was only 18 degrees when I parked my car, and so windy!

I went to the gallery to watch the Senate Session. I've been listening to them via the Live Feed pretty much every day, and it's so interesting. But in a way, I feel like a stalker, or like I'm spying on them. Today was much different than watching online because I found out almost all of them are eating lunch while in session, haha! You could constantly hear soda cans popping open, and there was a lot of other talking and things going on that you don't hear on the online stream.

 The other thing was how fascinating it is to see a vote. I don't even care what people are voting on. On election day I'm sitting there glued to the TV all day, long before any votes actually start coming in. Today was similar. Listening to the different comments, and I could clearly see the little board and the green or red squares next to everyone's names, and who voted which way, who changed their votes... I can't believe more people don't sit in  there and watch this. If I lived down there, I bet I'd be there every day at lunch to see what's going on!

After the Senate session adjourned, the butterflies started in my stomach and I began to get a little nervous- the Senate Transportation Committee meets just 45 minutes after Senate adjournment. I walked to the General Assembly building and finally got to meet Senator Deeds' aide, with whom I've been communicating for sooo long now, and then briefly got to meet Senator Deeds himself. He was exactly as I was expecting- a warm, genuine person with an infectious smile. He seemed super busy, so I didn't want to stay and bother him for too long. I wished I could have stayed longer and given him a more proper "thank you" for introducing the bill and being so nice, and I would have liked to have gotten a picture with him, too- but maybe this summer, after the bill passes, I can stop by his office and thank him again.

at 1:45 the Senate Transportation Committee meeting began and around 2:30 the pollinator plates were introduced. There was a little confusion- or maybe that was just on my part, since I am the one who isn't totally familiar with the process- but after deciding SB259 would not be combined into a bill with other license plates, I got up to speak on behalf of the bill. I started to think maybe I didn't need to be there, as it seemed they were about to quickly move along without me- but when I went up to the podium, everyone smiled and seemed welcoming. I shortened what I had planned to say by about half, since I got the impression the bill was going to pass whether I told them why I created the plates or not. I think what they wanted to hear was "I'm speaking in favor of this bill" and "I have 473 applications...." Done.

I waited to see if they had any questions, and the next few seconds were a blur... because I looked over at Senator Deeds and he smiled and nodded, like I didn't need to do anything else, so I returned to my seat. As I walked to my seat, they did the vote, and it happened so fast.... I missed it. Kind of. I sat down and was a mix of things- confused and happy and sad all at once (and shaking horribly). Sad that I missed it, confused wondering, did I just miss it!?!?? But happy that I didn't remember hearing a bunch of people yell out "No!!" Plus in the committees, there is no fancy illuminated board with names and lights and squares to look at. You gotta be on your toes.

I came home and viewed the bill page, then reloaded again... and again... and again, until it was at last updated with the following (and confirmed what I hoped- believed- to be true!):



I'm just.... going to leave that here, for now.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Slight changes to the design...

Yesterday I heard from the super sweet lady who works for the DMV and is in charge of the new plates process. She told me there has been quite a "buzz" about these new pollinator plates (woohoo!) and that there were a few items/concerns about the design, which we discussed. Some things had to be changed, so here's the latest:
One of the things that had to be changed was the word "Virginia" became a standard blue, as did the numbers on the plate. Sounds like within the last year or two, a law was passed standardizing that on *all* the plates now.
I also deleted the decal sticker illustrations and left only the template "month" and "year" boxes.
The mountains in the background have been lightened up, to make the plate number stand out more.
The hummingbird was moved over a bit, in case that first "0" becomes something like a "W" and could end up too close to the bird.
I think that was about it.
It took some getting used to, but I'm really liking the blue now. I still hope everyone thinks they're BEEutiful and will be excited to get theirs- I know I am!

Cheers for now and I'll keep ya posted!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The bill for the plates has been pre-filed in the General Assembly!

That's a screenshot from this website, where you can follow the bill's progress:


Or you can look it up by number: SB259.

The General Assembly will convene on Wednesday, January 8th. Some time after that (I'll post when I find out), our bill will be introduced and they will vote on it. If I can find out when that's happening, I hope to go see it in person!

Thanks so much to everyone who has signed up for a plate, especially those first few who signed up over 3 years ago! Your support and patience means the world to me, and it's so exciting to see this finally happening!