by Steven Ertelt
February 22, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Using a new 2004 law that allows lawmakers to block nonprofit groups seeking specialty license plates, two Missouri state senators have put a halt to an attempt to create Choose Life license plates for motorists to express their pro-life views.
The rejection was the first time lawmakers prevented a group from pursuing plates after passing a bill that made it so every plate did not need special legislation to be approved.
The law allows any member of the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight or any two state senators or five House members to stop a plate.
According to an AP report, Democratic Sens. Joan Bray and Rita Heard Days, both St. Louis abortion advocates, objected to the plates.
Because of their actions, the license plate did not get a vote in the transportation committee while plates on autism, cattle and supporting U.S. troops moved ahead.
"I don’t think that anybody ever intended license plates to be political bumper stickers," Bray told AP about her decision to stop the Choose Life plates.
But Kevin Roach, president of Choose Life of Missouri, the group sponsoring the plates, told AP the legislative committee "was supposed to be a rubber stamp" to approve plates like the Choose Life one that met other governmental requirements.
"The state cannot and should not engage in viewpoint-based discrimination," Roach told the Associated Press.
Roach said his group plans to appeal the decision, which will likely entail the committee looking at the plate again and the abortion advocates blocking it. Should that happen a second time, Roach said his group is prepared to file a lawsuit seeking to authorize the plate.
The "Choose Life" license plate originated in Florida and has been approved in 12 other states. More than 60,000 motorists have now raised over $5 million dollars to fund pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes through their sales.