Yellowstone license plate
Courtesy of Billings Gazette

Wyoming House of Reps Votes Down Yellowstone License Plate Bill

The Wyoming House of Representatives has voted down a bill letting the state make Yellowstone National Park-themed license plates.

The proposal, raised by Wyoming Department of Transportation Bill Panos in September 2016, would have let Wyoming residents buy a Yellowstone plate for $150—$120 for the application fee, $30 for a specialty plate fee. Residents would have paid $30 annually for the plate. Mid-January, we reported the bill had passed the House Transportation Committee 5-4.

This is not the first time a specialty Yellowstone plate has been proposed, nor is it the first time such a measure has been voted down, according to the Casper Star Tribune:

The House voted 52-7 against advancing the bill, with one member being excused. Several of the House Transportation Committee members, who voted unanimously to send the bill to the full House, reversed their votes.

Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, was one of the few votes in favor of the bill. He reiterated one of the arguments in favor of the plate by saying it would help the state’s tourism industry by essentially allowing cars to become “driving billboards” for the park.

Rep. John Eklund, R-Cheyenne, was also in favor of the bill under the rationale that an additional plate is fine if a group wants one and it would not cost the state additional money.

However, familiar arguments against the specialty plate surfaced again, including not wanting to be like other states that have a lot of specialty plates or that allowing the Yellowstone plate would cause more plates to be created.

“Pretty soon, we’ll be like every state around us,” said Rep. Roy Edwards, R-Gillette. “If we’ve only got one (design), it’s a whole lot easier to take care of.”

Wyoming has one of the lowest numbers of available specialty plates among the states, and most are restricted to military veterans or emergency responders.

In his previous pitch, Panos said he hoped the plate would help link Yellowstone National Park and the state of Wyoming in visitors’ minds. In addition, parts of the fees would have gone to wildlife preservation and rest stop upkeep.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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