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Arizona considers curbing glut of special plates

The Associated Press
MESA – Already, Arizona offers 51 types of specialty license plates, letting special-interest groups express themselves on a state-issued metal sign.

Now, even more groups are asking lawmakers for recognition on the road.

But as the variety of plates grows, so does the number of lawmakers questioning whether the plates are a genuine service to constituents or shameless pandering.

"It's just gotten out of hand," said Rep. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa. "You kind of get forced into voting for things because it would look bad if you didn't."

Among the groups the state already offers the plates to are the survivors of Pearl Harbor. The same goes for owners of pre-1949 street rods, amateur radio operators, environmental supporters and opponents of child abuse.

Johnson is one of several lawmakers who have protested the glut of plates and vow to reject any more. They cite concerns from police that the designs confuse the public and law enforcement.

However, it's tough to vote against a painless way to generate millions of dollars for causes.


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