Profane and Obscene Vanity Plates Could Soon Be Removed From Road Use

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 9:29 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Due to new rules from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, vanity License plates with obscene or profane messages will soon be removed. Newssource 8′s Corey Bouchard has more

Shenna Bellows “You have a freedom of speech right to put whatever you want on your own bumper sticker, but on government issued property, which is the registration plate, there is no reason for obscenity, profanity, violence, or sexually explicit language”

The initial draft of a new rule from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles would revoke or deny vanity plates based on the following reasons:

Plates that Encourage Violence. Make A derogatory reference to Age, Race, Ethnicity, Sex, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity. Anything related to Genitalia or sexual acts. or anything that is in general profane or obscene. Secretary Shenna Bellows says the rules are still in an initial draft, and have to go through a public hearing process before they can be finalized.

Shenna “Members of the public can weigh in on the draft rules by sending us an email, contacting the department, they can send us a letter or drop off a copy of their public comments at the department of the secretary of state, or they can join us at the public hearing that will be next month at the state house”

The rules are expected to become final by the end of the summer.

Shenna “So those license plates will start to disappear from those roadways in the fall”

Once the rules are in place, the Bureau will begin reviewing previously issued plates for what they determine to be against the rules, There will also be a tip line that people can report obscene plates to. Once the plate is reviewed, and a decision is made to have it removed, the owner will either remove the plate, or go through an appeals process.

Shenna “There’s also a hearings process so that if someone has a registration plate that is determined to be obscene or profane, they can appeal that ruling, have a hearing, and have a process to determine is this really obscene or profane”

As far as what you have to do with the plate after it is revoked... you’re technically supposed to send them back to the state, but secretary bellows knows that’s not always what happens.

Shenna " we know that Mainers love their wall hangings, you can see outdated license plates on garage walls and in kitchens all across the state... but what is important to note is that once a plate is recalled it is not valid for use on a roadway”

Information on the public hearing, as well as the different ways to submit your public comment, will be available on our website. Corey Bouchard, NS8

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