paper tag nation

Bill to Eliminate Paper Tags Advances in Texas House

The bill is now expected to head to the House floor in the next several weeks

NBC 5 News

The Texas House Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would eliminate paper temporary license plates in Texas.

The bill would require a switch to metal plates instead in an effort to stop widespread problems with fraudulent paper tags often sold illegally online.

A yearlong NBC 5 investigation exposed how criminals use fraudulent paper plates to evade police while smuggling drugs and even committing violent crimes.

In the wake of our reporting, lawmakers called for changes in the state’s temporary tag system. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles also made leadership changes and cracked down on small state-licensed car dealers involved in illegally selling real paper tags from the DMV’s online temporary tag system.

But, as more problem dealers were shut down, police say counterfeiters have stepped in to meet the demand for knock-off paper plates, which authorities say are easy to spoof because they come in a simple PDF document format.

The fake plates are also purchased by drivers with cars that cannot pass inspection or do not have insurance, according to law enforcement officials.

At a House Transportation Committee hearing last week, Grand Prairie Police Chief Daniel Scesney was among those testifying in support of the bill. Scesney has been outspoken in his frustration with paper tags, following the death of Grand Prairie Police Officer Brandon Tsai who was killed in a crash while pursuing a suspect with a fraudulent paper tag.

House Bill 718, which would eliminate paper tags, was authored by State Rep. Craig Goldman from Forth Worth. The bill is now expected to head to the House floor in the next several weeks. State Sen. Royce West from Dallas has introduced an identical bill in the Senate.


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