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Campaign Begins For Breast Cancer License Plates

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan has authored a bill to create specialized plates at the request of four Contra Costa County breast cancer survivors.

In the near future, you might see on California roadways a daily reminder about breast cancer prevention.

Today (Monday), the state Assembly Transportation Committee will begin debating Assembly Bill 49, authored by East Bay representative Joan Buchanan.

The bill would authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to begin selling special breast cancer license plates.

The plates would carry the message "Early Detection Save Lives." Most of the money collected from the plate sales would be dispersed by the state to breast cancer prevention programs.

Buchanan said she sponsored the legislation not only to raise funds for breast cancer organizations but also to raise awareness about the disease and the need for women to get regular check-ups.

"It's an important issue for women's health," said Buchanan, who represents the Assembly's 16th district.

She said the plates will be seen by female drivers all over the state, encouraging them to have regular screenings for breast cancer.

"It's a very visible reminder," said Buchanan.

The assemblywoman was asked to sponsor the bill by four East Contra Costa breast cancer survivors -- Debbie Bordeau, Heather McCullough, Heather Goff and Chere Rush.

Bordeau said early detection is the key to breast cancer treatment. If the disease is caught early, it can be treated.

She likes the idea that the license plates will be a roaming reminder.

"It will have people constantly thinking," she said.

Bordeau, who was also likes the fact a state agency will distribute the funds.

"We want the money from this program to go directly to support the treatment and education for breast cancer," said Bordeau.

McCullough, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, has similar reasons.

"The plate will be out there for millions of people to see on a daily basis," she said.

McCullough added the proposal has received strong support from the DMV. She and the others are ecstatic about the legislation.

"It's so exciting to get behind something that began as just an idea," she said.

The four women have set up a website called California Pink Plate with information on their program. You can also pre-order plates there.

Assemblywoman Buchanan has also set up a website where people can register their support for AB 49.

Right now, 31 other states have breast cancer license plates.

If AB 49 is approved by the state Assembly and Senate and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it would become law on Jan. 1.

The program would need 7,500 orders before the DMV would begin selling the plates.

It costs an extra $50 above the regular registration fee to get a randomly numbered plate. It's $98 to order a personalized plate. Renewal fees each year are $40 and $78.

"I'm surprised we don't have these plates already," said Buchanan. "It's really a simple idea."

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