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Secretary Bellows testifies on vanity plate bills

A vetting process for vanity plates was eliminated in 2015.
A vetting process for vanity plates was eliminated in 2015.
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is supporting several bills pending in the legislature that would clarify standards for vanity license plates to prohibit obscenities and other vulgar language.

A vetting process for vanity plates was eliminated in 2015.

The proposed bills would reestablish a review process, allow the secretary of state to reject vulgar license plates, and allow the recall of offensive plates that have been issued.

Bellows testified today before the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Transportation.

”A citizen may post a sign on their property or a bumper sticker on their vehicle with the most offensive slogan they choose,” Bellows said. “The registration plate is not a bumper sticker. Despite the common misconception that a registration is the property of the registrant, it is not, in fact, private property. These plates are, in fact, property of the state of Maine.”

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators says a majority of states have some sort of restriction on inappropriate messages on vanity plates.

To view today’s hearing in full, click here.

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