Since the new "In God we trust" plates became available Jan. 1, nearly 400,000 have been requested and issued around Indiana, said Greg Cook, communications director for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. That means more than one in four vehicles eligible for the new plates have received one, Cook said.
A new state law that passed overwhelmingly in the Indiana General Assembly last year called on the BMV to issue the new plates beginning this year and to make them available to passenger vehicles, trucks with a gross weight of 11,000 pounds or less and recreational vehicles.
The law, authored by Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood, also requires that the "In God we trust" plates be offered to Hoosier motorists at no additional charge compared with the standard Indiana plate.
In fact, the BMV is absorbing a cost of $3.69 for each plate ordered, according to a report in the Gary Post-Tribune.
The money needed to cover the cost is coming out of the Indiana Highway Fund, Cook said.
"It's more of an alternative standard plate," Cook said.Nearly $1.5 million dollars later, the BMV appears ready to admit there is nothing special about these new plates, and they aren't treating them any differently than the standard state offering.
How can you have something that you consider an alternative to the standard plate design, and yet still assert with a straight face that you don't treat the two as the same? All reports seem to indicate that the two are offered together, or in some cases, the new plate is being offered first and foremost.
It’s hard to believe now that it took several years of legislative battles and overcoming some alleged controversy raised by groups like the Indiana Civil Liberties Union to create the new "In God We Trust" specialty license plate.
The plate is one of my proudest accomplishments over the last fifteen years in the State House as I was fortunate to be a part of the design meetings because of AFA’s strong support for Representative Woody Burton’s license plate legislation year after year. When the design was chosen, the BMV ordered an ambitious 500,000 plates based upon an unexpectedly high number of people who voted on the on-line poll choosing between four possible designs.
It looks like the bureau will have to order more. Just three months after it became available the BMV has reported that around 400,000 national motto plates have already been given to motorists requesting them! The plates are available upon request and do not cost any additional fee. As far as we know, Indiana is the only state with a specialty license plate with our nation’s motto.