The Governor’s Office issued the following statement after petitions were delivered calling on the governor to stop the issuance of specialty license plates that bear the image of the Confederate battle flag.
“The governor has made it clear he wants to end the issuance of North Carolina license plates that bear the Confederate battle flag,” said Graham Wilson, the governor’s press secretary. “But the law doesn’t give him the authority to do so. It’s time for the General Assembly to provide the governor the legislative fix he needs so that this issue can be resolved once and for all.”
The law lays out the requirements that civic organizations, like the Sons of the Confederacy, must meet in order to get a specialty license plate. Once that criteria is met, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and hence the governor, does not have the legal authority to deny the plate.
That’s not the case when it comes to personal vanity plates. The law clearly gives the DMV (and the governor) legal discretion to deny individual plates. For example, plates that contain versions of a curse word are denied issuance.
If the legislature amends the law to give the DMV equal discretion over civic organization and personal plates, the governor will halt the issuance of plates that bear the Confederate battle flag.