Florida state Senator Clay Yarborough, a Republican from Jacksonville, introduced a bill on March 7 seeking to authorize the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to create a unique vehicle license plate to support a cure for diabetes research efforts.
As of the start of 2023, the Legislature had authorized 144 specialty license plates at the request of different parties for diverse purposes. The bill, if passed, would have the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles come up with a design of a license plate bearing the colors and design they approve with the word “Florida” and “Cure Diabetes” at the top and bottom.
The people willing to have the plate will pay an annual fee of $25, which would go toward funding research for Type 1 diabetes, marketing the product to others, and producing more plates for new applicants.
Laura Parker has dealt with diabetes her entire adult life. She educates her community any chance she gets, and is quick to help anyone in need.
“It took a while to get adjusted when I first found out, but my faith and support group inspired me to tell my story and help others in need,” Parker said. “One small gesture goes a long way in supporting something you’re passionate about.”
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, one of the organizations that would benefit from the support, is a non-profit organization that raises financial support to promote diabetes research. It is the leader of such efforts worldwide and is committed to improving lives by accelerating research to cure and prevent Type 1 diabetes.
Alex Bell, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 11, encourages others to get the plate as it will bring more awareness.
“Growing up, I never understood the full magnitude of diabetes. I just knew there was no cure,” Bell said. “One of my first jobs was with JDRF, and it helped me realize you are not alone in this fight.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the number of those infected with Type 1 diabetes at 1.6 million, with 64,000 new cases reported yearly. The disease is known to cause complications such as kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart disease and stroke.
If the specialty license plate is approved, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will have specific timelines for rollout activities. The state will require DHSMV to submit the art design of the plate within 60 days of the bill’s approval. Within the next 60 days, they will have to establish a method of issuing presale vouchers for the plates, and in the first 24 months, they will need to complete at least 3,000 voucher sales before manufacturing the plate.
Creating a “Cure Diabetes” license plate will help raise awareness of the disease and finance the research to find a cure. Investing in diabetes research will significantly decrease healthcare and improve people’s quality of life.
Senate Bill 634 is similar to House Bill 1619, and as of Wednesday it was being looked at by the Transportation Committee. It is set to become effective on Oct. 1, if approved.