On Thursday, June 30, 2011, Governor Beverly Perdue signed into law House Bill 289, “Authorize Various Specialty License Plates.” Her signature brought to a successful conclusion an eight-year effort to make available to North Carolina motorists a license plate that will have the words “Choose Life.” The bill was sponsored again this year by Rep. Mitch Gillespie of Marion, NC.
The bill allows for creation of 42 new specialty plates. Each plate can be created once the Department of Motor Vehicles receives at least 300 requests for the specialty plate. A portion of the fee associated with the plate will go to the designated interest. In the case of the “Choose Life” plate, money will be sent to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, which will then distribute the funds annually to non-governmental, not-for-profit agencies that provide pregnancy services that are limited to counseling or meeting the physical needs of pregnant women. Money will not be distributed to any agency or business that provides, promotes, counsels or refers women for abortion.
Among the other specialty plates authorized in the bill are “North Carolina Tennis Foundation,” “Fox Hunting,” “The National Wild Turkey Federation,” “Donate Life,” and “In God We Trust.”
The new plates, along with the current specialty plates, will have a sizable presence on the license plate until 2015. At that time, the DMV will issue new specialty plates to all purchasers in which the special designation will be smaller in size. The annual charge for a “Choose Life” plate will be $25 added to the normal cost of license plate renewal. The DMV will deduct from the $25 the cost of issuing, handling and advertising the availability of the new plates.
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, and the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte, expressed their gratitude to the sponsors of the “Choose Life” effort in the legislature, the legislators who voted for the bill and to Governor Perdue for signing the legislation into law. The Bishops also expressed their heartfelt thanks to all who took part in contacting their legislators urging them to support the specialty plate bill.
North Carolinians can request the new plate upon receipt of their license plate renewal.