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Missouri Sees No Need to Curb Personalized Plates

February 19, 2002
By: Rebecca Gannon
State Capital Bureau

The Coroner's Association.

The Boy Scouts.

The Society for Creative Anachronisms.

What do all these organizations have in common?

Rebecca Gannon has the answer in Jefferson City.

OutCue: SOC

Dozens of requests for personal license plates cruise through the Missouri Capitol every year.

Requests for military motorcyclists to have plates showing they're active duty, and plates to show they're veterans.

Plates to show you support the Boy Scouts, you support the Four-H, the local Teamsters, and, yes, the Jefferson National Park Association too.

The organizations are driving in by the dozens, all wanting their own plates backing their favorite little-known group.

Senator Morris Westfall is the chairman for the Senate Transportation committee, and he says this race for the personalized plate is a popularity contest.

RunTime: 15
OutCue: "...same time."
Contents: Westfall says groups want to be recognized, and they see one group do it, they want the same, and it also raises money.

The fundraising aspect of personal car tags can be quite lucrative to an organization.

With special plates costing anywhere from 15 to 25 dollars more than the standard state plate, a group of 50 people can easily earn some additional funds.

Those funds can either benefit the organization or make a detour to the state.

Representative Don Koeller serves as the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and he says this fundraising effort has a positive impact.

RunTime: 4
OutCue: "...quite a bit."
Contents: Lots of people do it, and it raises money.

The profits are good, and as more organizations hop on the bandwagon, more plates may be issued.

But with so many requests for license plates from so many organizations, where does the government hit the brakes?

As of now, there is no red light for the type of organization that can receive their own plates.

But with the addition of so many new groups, that may change, says Senator Westfall.

RunTime: 14
OutCue: "... plates like this."
Contents: The government may begin to charge more money to get a personalized plate.

For now, however, most groups are getting the green light go ahead.

There have been no complaints to the legislature about organizations on license plates, and the Highway Patrol has voiced no concerns of safety risks these personalized plates pose.

And that's enough for the lawmakers in the driver's seat, like Senator Westfall, who think these plates serve their purpose quite nicely.

RunTime: 15
OutCue: "...for a license plate."
Contents: Westfall says it's posing no problem and people don't seem to mind paying the few extra dollars.

But for now, the Coroner's Association, Purple Heart Medal Holders, and Rotary International can all share the road together, along with any other organization.

In Jefferson City, Rebecca Gannon.