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Special License Plates Give State Lawmakers Free Parking

DENVER (CBS4)- State lawmakers are getting special perks because of their legislative license plates.

The plates issued to the 100 state lawmakers and representatives elected to serve Colorado are preventing them not only from receiving photo radar tickets but also collection notices from past due parking tickets.

The legislative plates are not entered into the Colorado DMV database, so when photo radar cameras catch these drivers speeding, they never received tickets. That's because of a loophole that doesn't allow the City of Denver to electronically cross-reference those plates with a home address.

Now CBS4 has uncovered the same glitch with parking tickets. Lawmakers who don't pay their parking tickets aren't sent to collections. The problem is the City of Denver's collections relies on the state DMV database for addresses.

"Because the Department of Public Works relies on the DMV Database to contact people with unpaid parking tickets we are not able to contact legislators with unpaid parking tickets," explained Denver Public Works spokesperson Emily Williams.

Williams agrees the net effect is that lawmakers can ignore the parking tickets without consequences.

"That's true," Williams said, "And it's the glitch in the system".

Williams says a result of the CBS4 Investigation, Denver has identified 16 legislative plates that have racked up a total of $2,100 in fines and penalties that were never paid.

"We recognize the problem with the system," said Williams.

Williams initially told us the city would track down the lawmakers and make them pay up.

Apparently there has been a change of heart, Williams said now that would be too costly and perhaps too difficult to figure out.

The problem is not Denver's alone, the City of Aurora said it also uses the DMV database to track photo radar tickets and hasn't been able to send them to state lawmakers.

RELATED STORY: Representative Wants To Abolish Special License Plates After CBS4 Investigation

Several state lawmakers contacted CBS4 after the initial story about photo radar tickets aired last month and said they were in favor of abolishing the special license plates.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: State Lawmaker Parking Citations

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