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BMV Personalized Plate Program Resuming Friday After 2-Year Moratorium

Steve Baker

Hoosiers will once again be able to get a personalized license plate from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, beginning Friday. The program resumes nearly three years after a lawsuit led the BMV to shut it down.

A Greenfield police officer filed a lawsuit in 2013 after the BMV denied his personalized plate reading “O1NK” – or “oink.” The agency shut the entire program down during the ensuing legal battle.  The Indiana Supreme Court in November resolved the case, ruling in favor of the BMV.  Now five months later, Commissioner Kent Abernathy says the program will resume.

“We wanted to make sure we had all the processes in place to be able to handle the anticipated volume and to do it in a fair and accurate way,” Abernathy says. “And so that’s the biggest reason why we took the time to make sure we had it right.”

The lawsuit created questions about how the BMV decides which plates are acceptable.  Examples of seeming inconsistencies include denials of “NOBAMA” and “SEXYGRMA” while allowing “GOBAMA” and “FOXYGRMA.”  The BMV’s approval system for personalized plates will not change. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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