Senate refines rules on vanity license plates

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Vermont state senators are trying to clarify the rules for what drivers can put on their vanity license plates. Senators gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to a bill that puts into state law the rules already used by the Motor Vehicles Department.

Those regulations became an issue several years ago when a Wallingford woman’s application for a plate was rejected. The Motor Vehicles Department ruled that IRISH-ONE was inappropriate because the rules prohibit references to race or ethnicity. The Vermont Supreme Court overturned that rule and allowed the plate to be issued.

Since then the Senate has rewritten state law making clear that offensive, vulgar, profane and derogatory words can’t appear on license plates. But the proposed law would permit references to a person’s ethnic or racial heritage.

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