WHEELERweek – License Plates

As published by The Wheeler Report – Thursday, April 1, 2010

Executive Action by Assembly Transportation

AB-048. Special License Plates (Schneider) Special distinguishing license plates for groups that are military in nature. Passage recommended 10-0.

AB-303. License Plates (Kaufert) Special license plates expressing support for the family members of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Am. 1 adopted, 10-0. Passage 10-0.

Some History and Facts….

Wisconsin moved from the yellow license plate with black lettering to the current Wisconsin sailboat and farm graphic in the summer of 1986. Wisconsin has had the “America’s Dairyland” slogan on the license plates since 1940. Originally the new plates were printed with blue plate numbers, but after feedback from law enforcement the color was changed to red, then finally changed to black in 2000. The black lettering was used to provide better readability and durability. Wisconsin currently offers 75 different plates, and three more are in the implementation phase. There are over 100 combinations of plates when adding decal options. Here’s a link to the Wisconsin License Plate Guide.  2015 Wisconsin Act 277 created a new administration process to authorize additional plates.  Prior to Act 277, bills were introduced in the legislature creating new plates. As of July 2017, Wisconsin had 5,984,476 active registrations on the roads in Wisconsin. It is estimated that 32 states require display of two license plates, and 19 only require one. In Wisconsin, all license plate are manufactured in partnership with Badger State Industries at DOC.

And Today …

Sen. Terry Moulton and Rep. Bob Kulp have introduced companion bills which would eliminate the dual license plate requirement for vehicles which were originally manufactured without a front display bracket or if the vehicle display’s collector’s special interest vehicle registration plates.  (SB-458/AB-554).

Rep. Scott Allen has circulated LRB-4632 which would redesign the Wisconsin license plate to require DOT to contract with an art-education association to conduct a contest in 2018 to design a new license plate. The new plates would begin being issued in July 2019.

In October at the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Executive Director, Kurt Bauer said Wisconsin should consider eliminating the “American’s Dairyland” slogan and replace it with “Forward.” Bauer said he thought it was time to start a conversation.

Stories: LaCrosse Tribune. WISC. Wisconsin State Journal.