Mountain Lion license plate

The mountain lion conservation license plate has become the state's top-selling specialty plate.

LINCOLN — A wave of alternative Nebraska license plates may be on the way.

Want to highlight your affection for sandhill cranes or turtles? Advance the causes of neutering pets or checking for prostate cancer? Honor veterans or support the troops?

On Tuesday, the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee heard about all those license plate ideas and more — including a proposal to limit the state to just one license plate.

New Nebraska plates now pop up often, because organizations can have a specialty plate created with 250 applications and DMV approval. People who want the plates pay an extra fee.

State Sen. Robert Hilkemann of Omaha has introduced LB 38, which would require just one license plate on a vehicle, as is the case in 19 states. It drew opposition from the Omaha Police Department, which argued that a single plate makes it more difficult to identify cars.

But most of the license plate bills this year are looking to expand Nebraska’s lineup of specialty plates:

Sandhill cranes, bighorn sheep and cutthroat trout For wildlife conservation, up to three license plates would feature cranes, sheep and trout, under LB 128, introduced by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango.

Three-quarters of the $40 fee would go to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Educational Fund. Some proponents said the money would be better put to its Wildlife Conservation Fund.

There was debate from proponents on the best animals to be featured the plates. Testifiers from the Nebraska Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club said the cutthroat trout is not native to Nebraska, but the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission disagreed.

Spay and neuter your pets Presumably, this one would have extremely cute dogs and cats on it.

“LB 546 is for all of our four-legged constituents,” said Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart, who introduced the bill.

Funds raised would go toward a new low-income spay and neuter program.

Ornate box turtle

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, who said she has the immensely popular mountain lion conservation plate, would like to see more animal plates, “furry and otherwise.”

LB 691 would send funds to the Wildlife Conservation Fund under an amendment to the introduced version of the bill, which would create a new fund for turtles.

Prostate cancer awareness

LB 215 was suggested to Omaha Sen. Lou Ann Linehan by a constituent.

“There are usually no symptoms of early stage prostate cancer,” Linehan said, “which makes it extremely important that men talk to their doctors about prostate cancer after reaching the age of 40.”

Nebraska currently has breast cancer awareness plates.

Military honor

Sen. Carol Blood is proposing six new plates in LB 138.

Four plates would be for veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf War and Vietnam. Blood also said an amendment to the bill would add a fifth plate for veterans of the global war on terror. The funds from those plates would go to the Nebraska Veteran Cemetery System Operation Fund.

She also proposes a “support our troops” plate. Funds from that plate would go to a new fund for a veteran employment program.

In other license plate legislation, fees for military plates would be eliminated under LB 697 from Brainard Sen. Bruce Bostelman.

And LB 356 from Speaker Jim Scheer of Norfolk would change the way funds are distributed from Sammy’s Superheroes license plates. The Columbus nonprofit raises money and awareness for childhood cancer, but the plates bearing the organization’s name currently generate funding for roads.

Scheer’s bill would change that, directing 85 percent of the money raised from the plates to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

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