Local News

Possible License Plate Choice Has Its Pros and Cons

Posted April 10, 2001 9:49 a.m. EDT

— A controversial proposal to offer a new specialty license plate in North Carolina is raising eyebrows.

If passed, drivers who choose the specialty plate will help fund pro-life pregnancy crisis centers in the state.

State Representative Mitch Gillespie says the money raised, $15 a plate, would help one center in his district.

"They're only able to staff it three days a week. They try to assist three different counties. They saw about 300 girls last year that came through their doors. They struggle to exist," he says.

Gillespie got the idea for the Choose Life license plate while surfing the Internet. The plate, which originated in Florida last year, has already raised about $300,000 for pro-life centers.

The controversial plate faces several legal challenges along the way. Gillespie says he is prepared for them, as well as for opposition from other lawmakers, including Rep. Bob Hensley.

Hensley says the state already has 130 specialty plates on the roads, so he is against adding any more. However, he does offer a solution.

"If they want a Choose Life plate, they need either to put it on the front of the car or, if they want, they can get a license plate frame."

The money raised would go to the county where the plate was purchased. It would then be up to the county commissioner to distribute the money evenly between centers.

Hensley says he expects the bill to pass because lawmakers are reluctant to oppose any license plate that raises money for a cause -- even if it is a cause they do not support.

Reporter: Ericka Lewis Photographer: David Renner