Utah lawmakers consider license plate rules for "69"
Amid a debate over constitutionally-protected speech and language that targets vulnerable groups, Utah lawmakers are considering when "69" should be allowed on vanity license plates.
The big picture: The bill, HB 186, does a lot more than dictate the use of the number, sometimes used to describe a sex act. It also eliminates rules that forbid hate speech in vanity plates.
- Its sponsor, Rep. Norm Thurston, says the ban on disparagement against protected classes isn't "viewpoint-neutral," as courts have required in recent rulings.
Yes, but: The new language would ban any slur or epithet that "naturally provokes a violent resentment" or "language so grossly offensive to members of the public that the language amounts to a nuisance."
Zoom in: The carve-out for "69" has gotten less attention than the constitutional principles at play.
- The number may be used "in a combination with the vehicle make, model, style, or type, or commonly used or readily understood abbreviations of those terms," the bill states.
The bottom line: "69CHEVY" would be OK. "TIME269" might not.
Worth your time: KSL.com dived into the more serious ramifications of the bill last week.
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