Nebraska drivers getting two more license plate choices
(AP)—Nebraska drivers will have at least two new specialty license plate designs to choose from next year, adding to a steady trickle of new plates on the road in recent years.
State lawmakers passed legislation this year to create license plates honoring Native American history and displaying opposition to abortion.
For many years, the state only offered a standard plate design. Beginning in 1997, Nebraska added a Husker Spirit plate on behalf of the University of Nebraska. But six new specialty plate designs have been approved by lawmakers and Gov. Pete Ricketts in the past three years, and more may be coming.
“Previously in the Legislature, there either wasn’t support or interest in specialty plates,’’ said Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles director Rhonda Lahm. “Once the interest began and some initial specialty plates were approved, others became interested in adding on to the different options available.’’
In 2015, lawmakers approved license plates honoring current and former military service members, promoting breast cancer awareness and recognizing the state’s 150th birthday. A mountain lion conservation plate added in 2016 helps fund wildlife conservation education and assuaged Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, a longtime specialty license plate foe and mountain lion fan.
Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz, who introduced the Native American Cultural Awareness and History plate bill for one of her constituents, said debate over the mountain lion plate and its popularity—at least 5,000 were sold during the first four months they were available—opened the door to new designs.
The plate carries an additional $5 fee, and proceeds will fund college scholarships and youth leadership camps through the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs.
The commission is working with the DMV to design a plate recognizing the 27 tribes historic to the region and the four now headquartered in Nebraska. Commission executive director Judi gaiashkibos said potential designs include existing art by a Plains Indian artist featuring universal animals such as the sacred eagle, buffalo and horses. The plate’s likely will include the text “Nebraska’s First People.’’
“When the average person is driving down the highway, they’ll be reminded of the people that have been here, are still here and will be here in the future,’’ she said.