(a) Owners of motor vehicles or their spouses who are residents of Alabama and who are receiving monthly retirement checks from an education retirement pension program from any state, shall be eligible to apply for and receive "Retired Educator" numbered or personalized distinctive license tags as provided in this division. Owners of motor vehicles or their spouses who are residents of Alabama and who are currently employed by a public or private education school system, college, university, institution, or who are active and contributing members of an education retirement pension program, whether in-state or out-of-state program, shall be eligible to apply for and receive "Educator" numbered or personalized distinctive license tags as provided in this division.
An applicant to receive a "Retired Educator" or "Educator" numbered or personalized distinctive license tag for private passenger or motor vehicles shall meet the following criteria:
(1) Apply to the appropriate judge of probate or commissioner of licenses as the case may be.
(2) Comply with the state motor vehicle laws, relating to registration and licensing of motor vehicles.
(3) Pay the regular license fee for license tags as provided by law for private passenger or pleasure motor vehicles.
(4) Pay an additional annual fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) for the "Retired Educator" tag and fifty dollars ($50) for the "Educator" tag.
(5) Present documentation or certification to the appropriate judge of probate or commissioner of licenses, as the case may be, that the applicant is either receiving a monthly allotment as a retired education employee; or, in the case of "Educator" tags, is currently employed in public or private education as provided in this section. Once a retired educator presents proof that he or she is retired, the proof shall be valid from year to year and the retired educator is not required to resubmit proof of retirement as long as the retired educator does not move to another county. If the retired educator moves to another county, proof of retirement shall be presented upon initial registration in the new county and shall be valid from year to year in the same manner as provided above.
(b) Upon meeting all of the criteria, the applicant shall be issued a personalized motor vehicle license tag upon which, in lieu of the numbers prescribed by law, shall be inscribed special letters, figures, numbers, or other marks, emblems, symbols, or badges of distinction or personal prestige, or combination thereof, as are approved for and assigned to the application by the State Department of Revenue.
(c) The distinctive tags provided for in this division shall be issued, printed, and processed in the same manner as other distinctive tags in Section 32-6-150. The distinctive tags shall be valid for five years and may be replaced at the end of the period with conventional tags, other distinctive tags, or "Educator" or "Retired Educator" tags. Payment of the required motor vehicle license fees and taxes for the years during which a new vehicle license tag is not issued shall be evidenced as provided for in Section 32-6-63.
(d) The Commissioner of Revenue shall approve the distinctive design of the tags provided in this division, and the approval shall be subject to submission of the design by the Education Tag Advisory Committee, which committee shall be strictly voluntary and the members shall serve without pay or remuneration. The Education Tag Advisory Committee shall consist of three members who shall be appointed by the Alabama Education Association. The design of the distinctive tag shall be subject to approval of the Revenue Commissioner and shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to car tags and licenses, except that Section 32-6-54 shall not apply to this division.
(e) The proceeds of the additional revenues derived from sales of the tags pursuant to this division, less the two and one-half percent commission provided for in subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of Section 40-12-269, shall be remitted to the state Comptroller. After payment to the Department of Corrections for its costs relating to the manufacture and administration of the tags, the balance shall be transferred by the state Comptroller to the Penny Trust Fund, established by Amendment 512 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 219.06 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, in the State Treasury.
(f) Fees paid pursuant to this division represent a charitable contribution from the purchaser to the Penny Trust Fund.