Michigan to Get Choose Life License Plates

Michigan to Get Choose Life License Plates January 18, 2012

Our Michigan legislature is getting ready to take up a bill that would require the Secretary of State’s office to offer “Choose Life” bumper stickers, the proceeds of which would be funneled to “crisis pregnancy centers” and pro-life groups.

Among the legislation scheduled for review Tuesday by the Michigan Senate Transportation Committee isSenate Bill No. 600, which would require the Secretary of State to develop a plate whose proceeds would support the Right to Life of Michigan Fund in the state treasury.

According to Right to Life of Michigan: “Funds generated by the sale of ‘Choose Life’ plates in Michigan will be distributed to pregnancy resource centers and other prolife entities providing assistance to pregnant girls and women.”

About half the U.S. has “Right to Life” specialty plates, but their roll-out has been contentious. Groups in several states have mounted legal challenges on First Amendment grounds, some successfully, some not. The Supreme Court has let stand state rulings barring production of the plates.

Given the massive Republican control of both houses of our legislature, this is almost certain to pass. But in addition to legal challenge, I think another means of attacking these things is to submit legislation to do the same thing for pro-choice groups, or secular groups. That opens up the possibility of challenging such plates on open forum grounds and, in the end, could either scuttle the plan to aid one side or help fund the good guys too.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Abby Normal

    Picking nits, I think you mean license plates in the first sentence, rather than bumper stickers.

  • Brandon

    I can only assume that this means Michigan residents will be able to select a pro-choice slogan with proceeds benefiting Planned Parenthood, right? Alternatively, we could all agree to keep bumper stick slogans off of license plates, but that’d require basic human decency from the theocrats.

  • heironymous

    Brandon wins one internet!

    I want a “Supporting our mothers and daughters” license plate that supports Planned Parenthood – with NO STRINGS attached.

  • davidct

    Sending money collected by the state to faith based causes should be a violation of church state separation. Is anyone in MI planning a lawsuit over this?

  • DaveL

    “Funds generated by the sale of ‘Choose Life’ plates in Michigan will be distributed to pregnancy resource centers and other prolife entities providing assistance to pregnant girls and women.”

    You know, I can’t think of any prolife entities that provide assistance to girls and women.

    I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but when I was a teenager my mother was the treasurer of a local chapter for a national pro-life group. Not being terribly computer-savvy herself, she had me type up her reports. In a single month they spent a tiny fraction of their budget on “client services” – maybe enough to cover the co-pay on one doctor’s appointment. Most of it went to advertising and overhead like office space.

  • …to develop a plate whose proceeds would support the Right to Life of Michigan Fund in the state treasury.

    Never mind the stupid plate. Why the hell does Michigan have a “Right to Life Fund” in the state treasury? Maybe it’s not what I think it is, but it sure sounds like using tax payer dollars, directly or indirectly, to support a pure political cause. Which would be a clear violation of the 1st amendment.

  • Ramel

    When you said “Choose Life” my first thought was Trainspotting…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbGhC47NSmY

  • Ramel

    Argh,forgot that videos embed on FTB..

  • Aquaria

    I think they need to have one that says, “Personhood for Women!”

    Or “Remember Gerri Santoro.”

    Or “Remember Orphanages? Yeah, me neither.”

  • eric

    I’m okay with States offering specialty plates. Typically a special interest group collects signatures until they can make a case to the State that the State won’t lose money on producing the plates for a reasonable cost (typically $20-40/plate/year).

    That “law requiring” thing seems a bit unconstitutional. Why should this group be treated differently than any other special interest group wanting a plate? Does the legislature plan on requiring Michigan to produce FSM plates? Hail Satan plates? KISS Rules plates?

  • Brandon

    As I was scrolling back through Dispatches, I misread the title as “Michigan to Choose Get Life License Plates”. I can think of no better response to someone who cares enough about other people’s wombs to seek out a pro-life license plate – Get A Life.

  • matty1

    Ramel, your video cuts off before the most pertinent part of that speech “Reasons, who needs reasons?”

  • Larry

    So Michigan offers a choice in what license plates you attach to your car but wants to restrict a woman’s choice in the most private of all personal decisions.

    Damn, I can’t wait for that rapture thing to get rid of these people.

  • John Hinkle

    I need to set myself up as a huge “pro-life entity” in Michigan, stat. With a ginormous budget, one that could consume all the proceeds generated by this plate.

  • exdrone

    Require “What would Jesus do” license plates be offered and funnel those proceeds to Planned Parenthood.

  • vmanis1

    I believe that it’s Indiana that just established license plates endorsing the Indiana gay youth group. Much gnashing of teeth has ensued, apparently, among the Indiana gay-bashingXXX `pro-family’ community. I personally think that license plates should have only a number, a jurisiction, and an expiry date, along with possibly some anodyne sentiment about how the jurisdiction is the Best Place In The Eighteen Galaxies. But as long as any reasonable group can get their own plates, that should be sufficient.

  • Chris from Europe

    Well, if there are any pro-choice vandals …

  • Would these license plates be anything like the ones we have in Florida? Namely, the slogan on license plate with a yellow background, where yellow backgrounds are (to the best of my knowledge) only otherwise used for government tags (city, county, police and sheriff + a few others)?

  • concernedjoe

    To me the kicker is the STATE fund that, putting all fluff aside, will be specified for mostly religion based infrastructure that actively pursues specific political and religious agendas, and that often facilitates downright terrorist-like actions to limit the rights of women, the medical system, and to intimidate and coerce citizens to eschew their rights and duties.

    WTF!

    Special vanity/advertisement/message plates are fine with me as long as (1) the rules for them are broad enough to cover views equitably and adequately on a spectrum; that is the State cannot directly or indirectly advocate any specialty view, (2) the fees are not discriminating and are solely based on costs and allows a profit to the State, and (3) said profit is put to STATE run and funded activities that promote cleaner, safer, and faster transportation and related things.

  • eric

    To me the kicker is the STATE fund that, putting all fluff aside, will be specified for mostly religion based infrastructure that actively pursues specific political and religious agendas

    I’m okay with the profits being distributed to where the plate-owning group specifies, as long as that’s the same for every group. If the original group of Buffet fans who got a parrothead license plate approved got to decide where the profits from their license plate go/went, the choose life folks should get the same privilege. Maybe with some reasonable limitations, i.e. disclosure to buyers and it has to be a legitimate charity – we don’t want Joe Bob designing a “Remember 9/11” plate and having all the money secretly go to the Joe Bob Enrichment Fund.

    This is theoretical; I don’t know if other groups get the privilege that MI is extending to this group.

  • Just give the option to have “conservative republican” on your plate. That way you’ll be able to tell us all of the decent things you stand against and all of the shitty things you stand for in two simple words. easy peasy

  • concernedjoe

    Eric – you have a valid view – I just disagree.

    My view is the State should put “profit” toward the broadest public interest AND it should be specific to a fee if fees related.

    Licenses are fall under transportation management fees and therefore should go to transportation betterment IMO.

    Thanks for your opinion.