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Republican lawmaker reignites debate over specialty license plates

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An Indiana lawmaker wants to create a group to oversee specialty license plates, one year after a gay youth group’s plate was suspended.

Representative Ed Soliday, R-District 4, wants an eight-member panel to review applications. He also wants to limit the number of participating groups to 150. Soliday claims other states, like Maryland, offer as many as 700 different specialty plates, making it difficult to hold the nonprofits accountable.

Last year, the Indiana Youth Group claimed discrimination when their and several other organizations’ plates were yanked. The organization counsels lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

The BMV said Indiana Youth Group along with two other groups broke  their contracts by reportedly offering low-digit plates as a thank you gifts for donations. The decision to suspend IYG’s plate came after 20 state senators sent a letter about the issue to the Bureau. The BMV launched an investigation and found that  the Greenways Foundation and the Indiana 4-H Foundation also violated their contracts, according to officials.

Currently, Indiana offers specialty plates for 88 organizations.

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