Friday, November 20, 2020

Diamond proposes bill to set standards for vanity plates

Senator Bill Diamond of Windham has
introduced a bill to strengthen the standards
used by the Maine Secretary of State's office
in issuing vanity license plates and to reject
applications for those that are vulgar,
contain hate speech or include language
that refer to drugs.
Senator Bill Diamond of Windham has introduced a bill to strengthen the standards that Maine’s Secretary of State uses to issue vanity license plates.

Diamond’s bill will allow the Secretary of State to reject applications for plates that are vulgar, contain hate speech or that include language referring to drugs.

“As a former Maine Secretary of State, I know that these additional standards are badly needed,” Diamond said. “Some of the plates I see when I’m out on the road today provide strong evidence that the Legislature must create more thorough guidance.”

He served as Maine’s Secretary of State from 1989 to 1997, during which time Maine’s vanity plate program was first implemented. Maine law currently prohibits plates that encourage violence, may result in an act of violence or spur other unlawful activities.

In 2015, Maine repealed restrictions on license plates that could be considered obscene, contemptuous, profane or prejudicial, or which promoted abusive or unlawful activity.

“As the Secretary of State who began the vanity plate program, I never imagined that plates would be used to make such vulgar statements as the ones we’re seeing today,” Diamond said.  “Vanity plates are a fun part of driving in Maine, and have even become a tradition here, but we need to have some limitations when it comes to making public statements on state property (vanity plates) if for no other reason than to demonstrate to our youth that with life comes certain boundaries. Setting some clear standards will make sure everyone is on the same page about what is and is not appropriate for our roadways.”

The bill will now undergo further work in committee.

The 130th Maine Legislature will be sworn in on Dec. 2. <

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