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SARRC, First Place AZ Announce Successful Passage of New Specialty License Plate Proposal

SARRC and First Place AZ joined Governor Katie Hobbs in the Governor’s Executive Tower as she signed the bill into law on Monday, April 8.

Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), in collaboration with First Place® AZ, is excited to announce the approval of a new specialty license plate, “Driving Support for Autism,” through the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1561.

“This achievement, approved by the Senate on April 2 – coinciding with World Autism Day – is a significant milestone for our organizations and aligns with our common goal of raising awareness and visibility for autism in Arizona,” said SARRC President & CEO Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA-D. “Furthermore, we extend our deepest gratitude to Senator Flavio Bravo for his pivotal role in championing our bill throughout the entire process.”

The Driving Support for Autism license plate artwork was commissioned and created by Joe Bradley, an artist on the autism spectrum, and a founding member of SARRC’s Self-Advocate Advisory Board. Joe, who is passionate about building acceptance and awareness around autism, created the plate by drawing upon his unique perspective shaped by his personal experience with autism and over two decades of experience in his work.

While the design is in the process of being officially approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation, the submitted license plate artwork aims to embrace the colorful spectrum of autism and symbolizes the unity within diversity and the shared journey of understanding and acceptance.

The process of obtaining specialty plates in Arizona involves detailed steps, including approval from both chambers of the state legislature and the governor. The proceeds from the sale of these plates will directly support SARRC and First Place AZ’s programs and services for individuals with autism and other neurodiversities.

The new specialty license plate is expected to be available in fall 2024, with an initial $25 fee and the same cost for annual renewal. Of this amount, $17 from each plate sold will directly support SARRC and First Place AZ.

“From early intervention to housing solutions, SARRC and First Place AZ’s shared priority is to strengthen inclusive practices for individuals with autism and their families,” Dr. Openden said. “With the support of our community, PBS NewsHour established Phoenix as ‘the most autism-friendly city in the world.’ We hope that the release of our autism specialty plate will take the next step towards making Arizona the most autism-friendly state in the country.”

SARRC and First Place AZ eagerly anticipate the unveiling of the approved Driving Support for Autism license plate artwork soon.

Artist Joe Bradley and SARRC President & CEO Daniel Openden with the signed bill.

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