What Is Obscene?

State Motor Vehicles Director Debra Hillmer didn’t get her way when SB20 was quashed last week so now supporters are trying a different tactic.

For those that don’t remember, SB20 sought to ban personalized license plates after a recent flap over a license plate was issued that read MPEACHW. Hillmer and her staff, whom apparently have a hard time deciphering acronyms asked that all personalized plates be banned as a result. That bill eventually failed when the state Senate Transportation Committee decided that personalized plates were too popular but apparently this issue is really important as it has re-appeared, thought in a slightly different form.

SB185 was introduced Wednesday and instead of banning personalized plates completely, supporters are now trying to outlaw plates that are “in any language, vulgar, derogatory, profane, racial epithets, or obscene

Missing from this legislation of course, is who determines what is “vulgar, derogatory, profane, or obscene”. Will it be Hillmer and her staff? And if so, do we want someone that is already complaining about figuring out the meaning of all the various letter/number combinations being too difficult to be telling us what is offensive?

Is this a road we really need to be going down right now? While I personally can’t see spending $20-25 a year for vanity plates, I have a feeling many who do will have serious issues with other people’s idea of what constitutes obscene or vulgar. I guess I better order my “id10t” plates now…

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