Skip to comments.New license plates ready-Knox County clerk has 200 'Choose Life' on hand with 200 more coming Friday
Posted on 11/28/2006 7:47:14 AM PST by SmithL
County clerks in Knox and surrounding counties are prepared for customers who want to purchase the controversial "Choose Life" license plate.
Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett said he already has 200 plates on hand that have been ordered by drivers to publicize their opposition to abortion. That helped meet the 1,000-order threshold necessary statewide before a specialty plate will be produced.
Padgett expects another 200 plates to come in by Friday.
The plate in Knox County costs $24 for the state registration, $36 for the local wheel tax and $35 for the special plate, totaling $95. It's another $35 for personalization of the plate, or $130 in all.
The plates are on sale now, but Padgett urges drivers to come in Friday to get credit for the full month of December.
"We've not really had a lot of calls" for the plate, he said.
As for the controversy over the plate, Padgett said, "That's the Legislature's responsibility. I sell whatever the state recommends."
State Department of Revenue spokeswoman Emily Richard said 1,265 people have ordered the plate so far. It features an image of a smiling baby with the slogan "Choose Life."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee challenged the license plate on free speech grounds but eventually lost its case when the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to accept an appeal.
The ACLU had argued for the National Abortion Rights Action League in Ohio that the specialty plates were unconstitutional because the state did not offer an opposing plate for abortion-rights supporters to buy.
Tennessee ACLU Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said the case was not about abortion but about the right of individuals to speak their minds.
"Our commitment is to ensure that our government does not engage in viewpoint discrimination, and we will always work to protect free speech rights for all Tennesseans," she said.
In Roane County, Deputy Clerk Elania Ollis, said her office is ready for customers.
"We've received 27 (plates)," she said. "That's what we normally do on specialty plates. When we get down to 5 to 7, we reorder."
Roy Crawford, Blount County clerk, said he has 50 plates in stock.
"We've had a few calls," he said.
Anderson County Clerk Jeff Cole said the new Choose Life plate will probably "sell good" like most special plates for the first three to four months.
"We're excited about selling it," he said. "Any specialty tag starts out good, then slows down."
Fifty percent of the funds generated from tag sales go to Nashville-based nonprofit New Life Resources, 40 percent goes to the Tennessee Arts Commission and 10 percent goes to the state's highway fund, Richard said.
New Life Resources is an anti-abortion group "loosely affiliated" with Tennessee Right to Life, said New Life Resources president Brian Harris.
Why do so many people feel the need to plaster their political and ideological views on the back (side and front) of their vehicles?
Same reason people get on the internet and damn them for doing it. They have a right to their freedom of speech, including saying things like "CHOOSE LIFE"....
I understand they have a right to do so. I just don't understand the psychological need they have to let every single person who encounters them on the road know every little catch phrase and political slogan they've memorized.