A week after unveiling a new standard license plate design, Gov. Laura Kelly has rescinded it and is opening up a public input process.
“I’ve heard you loud and clear. Elected officials should be responsive to their constituents, which is why we are adjusting the process so Kansans can provide direct input on our state’s next license plate,” Kelly said in a statement. “I promised to be a bipartisan governor, and I think we can all admit — I succeeded at bringing Kansans across the political aisle together in disliking this new license plate.”
The state sought to phase out the current embossed plates due to safety concerns, saying that they are difficult to read after a couple years on the road. The proposed plates featured a wheat-yellow background with black and midnight blue text. The phrase “to the stars” is adorned at the bottom of the plate in tribute to the Kansas state motto “ad astra per aspera.”
At a news conference on Tuesday, Kelly told reporters that the biggest concern she’s heard from people is that the golden background and black lettering resemble Mizzou colors. The design caught flack from other elected officials. Kansas Rep. Nick Hoheisel, R-Wichita, called on the governor’s office and Department of Revenue to postpone the rollout of the new design until the legislative session begins in January.
“There is a consensus that we can, and should, strive for a better design that resonates positively with the citizens of Kansas, distinct from the New York-style license plate proposed,” Hoheisel wrote in a letter to Kelly and secretary of revenue Mark Burghart.
Hoheisel proposed creating a platform or submission process that allows Kansan artists to submit designs on the future license plates, and for the public to give feedback to guide which design is selected. Kelly’s outline of the process going forward resembles that proposal.
People will be able to submit and vote for the next standard license plate through a combination of social media and the state’s website.
“I think that’s probably the easiest way to do it and the way that will impact the most people and give them the most opportunity,” Kelly said.
However, the designs must follow certain parameters.
• License plate numbers will be seven (7) digits.
• Any phrase, motto, or slogan must be placed at the bottom of the license plate.
• Any graphic must be placed on the right or left side of the license plate number.
• Graphics must not resemble letters, numbers or special characters in a way that would interfere with the ability to read the license plate number.
• Background design must not interfere with the ability to read the license plate number.
• The license plate must have a light background behind the license plate number, and the license plate number must be black.
• The black letters and unobstructive art is designed to make the plates clear and easy to read.
“These have to be able to be read by those license plate readers, by law enforcement,” Kelly said.
The state originally planned to start issuing new license plates in March, but Kelly said sourcing and approving a new design would delay the implementation of new license plates by about six months.
As reported in the Topeka Capital Journal