Texas drivers will soon be able to make a Texas-sized statement with their license plates. The popular Tea Party symbol of the Gadsen flag, featuring the phrase "Don't Tread on Me," has been approved as a Lone Star specialty plate and could be available as early as February.
The Texas DMV board voted to approve the plates on November 9, after the public was allowed to comment on the possible plates on the state's DMV website.
"The Gadsden 'Don't Tread on Me' flag is a significant one to American and Texas history, and our market research, both formal and informal, shows that there's a lot of interest in Texas in state history," Kim Miller Drummond, spokeswoman for Myplates.com, the company contracted by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to design, market and sell new specialty license plates in the state, told Fox News.
According to the DMV, the Gadsen plate was approved after it was deemed that it is not a political, but a historical, symbol, and that it doesn't just represent the Tea Party.
"Generally if a plate is not deemed to be offensive to public sensibilities," or too political, it passes, Texas DMV Public Information Officer Kim Sue Lia Perkes told Fox News. "'Don't Tread on Me' isn't exclusive to the Tea Party. It's been around for a long time, so I think that the TxDMV, we would be inclined to look at it as a historical plate and not that we stepped into some kind of political debate".
Other states could soon follow suit. We've already reported on Virginia's Gadsen plate plans, and on October 14 Virginia House Delegate John M. O'Bannon III submitted the plate proposal to make them happen. Nevada Assemblyman Ed Goedhart submitted a similar proposal.
In Nevada, "if you can sell over a certain number of plates, you're allowed to have specialty license plates," Goedhard told Fox News. "So my bill would put the Gadsden flag as one of those specialty plates that would have to wait its turn to move up the list." He hopes his bill will pass in late February.
Portions of the proceeds from the Texas plates will go to Myplates.com, with the rest going directly to the DMV. In Virginia, the proceeds will go directly to the DMV, while in Nevada the plate's proceeds will go to a nonprofit group that distributes pocket U.S. Constitutions to high school students.
"I believe there are a lot of people that basically embrace the concepts of Constitution, limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets that our country was based upon and I believe there are a lot of people that would like to show their solidarity with those founding values by having a plate," Goedhart said.
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