Five states, including New York, are looking to ban vanity plates that display the names of cities, towns and counties.
Andrew Cuomo is pushing for the new legislation after the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued new rules on vanity plates last year, which included the ban.
The new rule requires that vanity plates have to be personalized and be placed on vehicles and trucks that comply with the DMV’s rules.
Cuomo’s bill, Senate Bill 9, would ban the practice in the state, and it would take effect March 1.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said the new rules are a step in the right direction.
But state lawmakers and business groups are skeptical that vanity plate-holders are as patriotic as the DMV.
“We have a big problem here, and that is that the people who buy vanity plates don’t actually understand the significance of what they’re doing,” said Republican state Sen. Joe Liberati, chairman of the New York State Senate Business and Industry Committee.
Liberati said he’s concerned that people who drive vehicles with vanity plates are getting a free ride and driving under the radar.
“When we have a lot of these vanity plates, people think they’re helping the community,” Liberati said.
“It’s a double-edged sword.”
New York’s bill is sponsored by New York City Council member Kristin Puckett and State Senator Diane Savino, both Democrats.
The bill, if passed, would prohibit vanity plates from being placed on noncommercial vehicles, including school buses and taxis.
In a letter to DMV Chairman Christopher S. Brown, Pucketts said the rules put “too much of our city’s history on the line” by making the license plate a vehicle identifier.
“Our city is not going to stand for this type of license plates on our roads,” she wrote.
Pucketts also said the DMV should not be able to determine the identity of a person who is driving a vehicle with a vanity plate.
“I don’t think vanity plates on commercial vehicles should be a driver identifier,” she said.