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Indiana ACLU: BMV actions misguided, hurtful

Statement as issued Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana:

Indianapolis – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana prevailed on its case to reinstate a specialty license plate for a nonprofit group that provides counseling and guidance to gay and lesbian youth.

The ACLU of Indiana received an email from Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner R. Scott Waddell saying he had directed the agency to reinstate IYG’s participation in the Specialty Group Recognition program “effective immediately.” The email follows a June 26 ruling by the Administrative Law Judge ordering the plate be reinstated and finding that the BMV’s requests for “clarification” in a June 14 Order of Remand were “improper.”

“We are happy the plates have been returned,” said ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar. “IYG does admirable work providing guidance to young people. The ACLU of Indiana hopes this is the end of a series of misguided and hurtful actions by the State.”

On June 19, the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit challenging the BMV’s authority to issue an Order of Remand on its ALJ’s order to restore IYG’s specialty license plate. The ACLU of Indiana seeks to void the order and ensure that proceedings are performed by a “neutral and impartial” decision maker.

On June 14, BMV commissioner R. Scott Waddell issued an Order of Remand effectively reversing the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, who had ruled in May that the State violated the IYG’s specialty license plate contract when it issued a suspension of the plate last year without giving the nonprofit the required notice and a chance to correct any issues. The ALJ also found that IYG’s actions did not constitute a sale of low-digit specialty plates, as 20 Indiana State Senators had claimed in March of 2012. These state senators asked the BMV to terminate IYG’s contract after they had been ineffective in passing legislation to that effect.

Indiana Youth Group, Inc. v. R. Scott Waddell, Case no. 1:13-cv-00981-JMS-MJD, was filed June 19 in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

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