(a)(1) The design of license plates, including all emblems, slogans, symbols, or characters appearing on the plates, shall be by rule as promulgated by the Commissioner of Revenue, and as otherwise specified by law. The face of the license plate to be displayed shall be fully treated with a reflective material which will increase the nighttime visibility and legibility of the plate.
(2) Characters on the license plate which designate the county of issuance shall be numeric, and all numerals on the license plates shall be no smaller than two and three-fourths inches in height. The following numbering scheme shall be used:
a. Jefferson County, 1; Mobile County, 2; Montgomery County, 3.
b. All other counties shall be ranked alphabetically and assigned consecutive numbers beginning with 4 and concluding with 67.
c. The Department of Revenue shall be responsible for the numbering of distinctive license plates and shall establish a system to minimize duplication of license plate numbers. License plates that shall be approved for manufacture under subsection (b) shall be numbered or personalized.
(b) The sponsoring organization of any new or reissued distinctive license plate that is not of a college or university or a military category shall assure a minimum quantity of 250 registrations in order for the proposed plate to qualify for production consideration by the legislative oversight committee under the provisions of Section 32-6-67.
(1) The procedure to assure the quantity minimum for a distinctive license plate shall be as follows:
a. The sponsoring organization shall apply to the Department of Revenue for approval for the proposed distinctive license plate from the legislative oversight committee. At the time of application, the sponsoring organization shall submit a design for the plate or logo for the quantity class being applied for as described below:
1. Quantity Class 1 (250 to 999 registrations). A new distinctive license plate category, or an existing distinctive license plate to be reissued, in which registrations are estimated to be at least 250, but less than 1,000, shall be in conformity with the design approved by the legislative oversight committee for license plates in this quantity class. This plate shall include a space designated on the left side of the license plate, not exceeding two and one-half inches in width and height, in which an appropriate emblem, slogan, or logo design may be applied to represent the organization for whom the distinctive license plate is issued. Each proposed emblem, slogan, symbol, or logo shall be subject to the approval of the legislative oversight committee.
2. Quantity Class 2 (1,000 or greater registrations). This quantity class may use the logo system described for Quantity Class 1, or may use a unique design for the entire plate which is approved by the legislative oversight committee and meets all other design and manufacture requirements of Alabama law.
b. After the legislative oversight committee approval and notification to the Department of Revenue, the department shall also coordinate with the Comptroller to establish funding procedures for deposit and maintaining monies held pending issuance of the new category of license plates.
c. Each person desiring to register a vehicle in the new category shall make application and shall remit, as a commitment to purchase, the additional fee associated with the license plate category in a manner as prescribed by rule of the Commissioner of Revenue. Any credit card processing fee associated with the transaction shall be paid by the person making the commitment to purchase the distinctive license plate and shall be nonrefundable.
d. The Department of Revenue shall deduct from the additional fee and retain a two and one-half percent commission. The balance shall be forwarded to the Comptroller to be retained in escrow, until such time as the revenue received is equal to or greater than the minimum amount required to issue license plates in that category. If, after one year from the date of notification of approval by the legislative oversight committee, the number of subscribers for a category fails to reach 250 for Quantity Class 1, or fails to reach 1,000 for Quantity Class 2, the Comptroller shall pay the money in escrow to the sponsoring organization and no further consideration for production of this proposed distinctive plate shall be made under this application. In addition, the sponsoring organization may not submit another application for a distinctive license plate for a period of one year from the date the commitment to purchase period ended.
e. Upon determination by the Department of Revenue that a sufficient number of applications for a plate category has been received, the department shall initiate the ordering processes for design and manufacture of the approved license plate. At that time, the Comptroller shall pay out of the escrow account the amounts referred to in Section 32-6-68.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions to the contrary, except where specifically provided by this subsection, no series of distinctive license plates shall be reissued unless the following requirements are met:
a. For Quantity Class 1 distinctive license plates, there shall have been issued in the prior license year a minimum of 250 license plates.
b. For Quantity Class 2 distinctive license plates, there shall have been issued in the prior license year a minimum of 1,000 license plates.
(3) The use of distinctive license plate categories shall be limited to use on passenger cars, pick-up trucks, and self-propelled campers or house cars.
(c)(1) The Department of Corrections is directed to supply all license plates and revalidation devices required under this subdivision. The amounts charged by the Department of Corrections for the manufacture of revalidation devices shall not be less than that charged for the manufacture of license plates on a per item basis.
(2) The Department of Corrections shall maintain an accurate system of record-keeping which shall trace and account for the handling and distribution of each plate and revalidation device throughout the manufacturing process until the items are distributed to each county.
(d) After the five-year license plate has been in use for a period of three years the Department of Corrections may manufacture all subsequent license plates for the remaining two years of the period from a metal of less durability and quality than the metal used in manufacturing the five-year license plates.