‘In God We Trust’ license plate now available
On May 4, 2017, House Bill 26, sponsored by State Rep. Bill Sanderson, passed with an 85-0 vote on the House floor. The legislation created an option for Tennessee drivers to have the words ‘In God We Trust’ placed on the standard state license plate, also known as the ‘Green Mountain’ design. Originally filed in January, the bill offers Tennessee residents to purchase state license plates with the choice of the standard plate or ones with ‘In God We Trust’ placed in the center of the plate.
“It was an idea of a lady in Obion County named Judy Underwood,” said Rep. Sanderson. “She came to me with the idea about a year and a half ago. By the time we got the legislation drawn up and got it passed, it took about a year. We had a lot of pushback, a lot of groups that didn’t want to see ‘In God We Trust’ on license plates. We had a lot of calls, and we really had to claw our way, but in the end, we made it to where you have a choice, obviously, of this standard plate or the ‘Green Mountain’ plate with the ‘In God We Trust’.”
Working with the Tennessee Department of Revenue as well as the current state vendor, 3-M, an agreement was arranged where the language ‘In God We Trust’ would be added at no cost.
“We had their [3-M’s] representatives come to our office, with the Department of Revenue, and we were able to work out where it would not be an actual cost to the citizens of Tennessee because they wouldn’t have to redesign the plate, just the middle of the plate.”
The bill was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam and became effective on July 1.
“We’re proud of it,” said Rep. Sanderson. “There are several other states that have this. The reason Judy came to me with the request is because we border Kentucky, and Kentucky has this, and she was seeing people that were driving in from Kentucky to Tennessee, and she thought, ‘Why don’t we have it?’”
The license plates are currently available. According to Dyer County Clerk Diane Moore, her office ordered 800 of the ‘In God We Trust’ plates. Since July 1, there have been over 30 county residents who have opted for the ‘In God We Trust’ design.
“I’m tickled to death [of the license plates]. You see the people with the cars with the marathon stickers, or you see them with the fish. You see a lot of people’s identities on the rear of a car. I think it’s important to a lot of people to display that [‘In God We Trust’]. I’m very pleased with it.”