SALT LAKE CITY — It's been on currency for decades, and now Utah may become one of several states to include "In God We Trust" on license plates.
On Wednesday, the Utah Legislature's Transportation Interim Committee will discuss a proposal to create a vehicle plate featuring the popular phrase.
The bill's co-sponsors, Val Peterson, R-Orem, and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said the measure was first conceived by an 11-year-old Utah County resident who, along with his father, is an avid collector of state license plates.
Upon noticing similar plates from Indiana and Alabama, Tate Christiansen last month brought the idea of a Utah plate with the national motto "In God We Trust" to his uncle, Mike Mower, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Gary Herbert.
"After Tate showed me an Indiana plate with 'In God We Trust' and an Alabama plate with 'God Bless America,' I knew he was on to something," Mower said. "In Indiana, it's one of the state's most popular license plates."
The idea was introduced at the America's Freedom Festival at Provo, and a design was developed. Soon after, Weiler and Peterson took an interest and decided to sponsor the project.
"I got excited about it," Peterson said. "I thought it was a very worthwhile project."
To get the plates made, a bill must be approved by the state Legislature. Before that, state law requires that 500 people preorder the new design at a cost of $43. Peterson said 100 people have committed to purchase the plate, leaving another 400 outstanding before the measure could pass.
To do so, those interested would download and complete the personalized plates form, pay the requisite fees, and then mail the money and form to the Freedom Festival offices.
Once the minimum is met, the design will become available to the public, Weiler said.
He said they hope to get the measure designated as a Transportation Committee bill, giving it higher priority for the upcoming legislative session. Weiler said he believes the bill would garner wide support when introduced to the full Legislature.
The proposal has received some criticism from atheist groups, but none have expressed sentiments opposing the measure.
Peterson said he was also optimistic about the measure's chances for approval by the interim committee and eventually all lawmakers.
"We've only been going for about three weeks, and we've already got 100 people who have already signed up," he said. "It's got good momentum, and we've gotten lots of positive feedback."
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