SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois already has special license plates honoring prisoners of war and Pearl Harbor survivors. Now lawmakers want to create plates for former Marines and Gulf War veterans.
Firefighters and Masons have their plates, too. And they could be joined by prison guards and Lion's Club members -- along with union workers, West Point graduates, northeastern Illinois carpenters and pet lovers.
State officials just can't seem to resist creating special license plates to raise money for charity or honor a group. It's a relatively painless way to help a constituent or please an interest group.
"How do you vote against a hospice license plate? How do you vote against a pet-friendly plate?" asked state Rep. Bill Black. "We don't want to be seen as the bad guy on some good causes like breast cancer research, prevent violence, environment."
Police, though, have complained that the number of specialty plates -- now 44 -- is getting out of hand. That doesn't count temporary plates issued for special events or the variations on regular plates available to ham radio enthusiasts, RV owners and others.
The result is plenty of exotic, hard-to-read plates for police to scrutinize.
What's more, demand may be drying up, reducing the plates' value as fund-raising tools.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.