LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation on Friday that would have required Michigan to create and sell an anti-abortion fundraising license plate.
The bill approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature would have required the “Choose Life” plate to be issued by June 2018.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick called it a “very interesting decision” by Snyder to veto a bill (SB 163) that cleared both houses with overwhelming support.
Snyder said this is not just about a license plate.
“The ‘Choose Life’ license plate is a political message that has the potential to bitterly divide millions of Michiganders and that, in my view, is not appropriate for a state-issued license plate,” the governor said in letter to lawmakers.
Michigan currently has fundraising plates for public universities, the Boy Scouts and special causes such as breast cancer awareness, organ donation that cost drivers $35 initially and $10 each time they are renewed.
The money would have gone to a fund whose board is controlled by Right to Life of Michigan, which has long lobbied for the license plate. The board, which would have covered state costs to develop the new plate, would have dispersed grants to nonprofits including crisis pregnancy centers and those promoting “life-affirming programs and projects.”
Snyder said “these are noble causes but having a private fund making funding decisions is a concern.”
The legislation was sponsored by Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Wayne County’s Canton Township, who is running for governor in 2018 when Snyder will be term-limited.
Democrats opposed the bill, saying it would be the first and most politically blatant license plate the state has ever had.
Right to Life of Michigan remains committed to creating the plate.
“The support for the Choose Life plate is still there and it will happen in Michigan, it’s just a matter of time. We look forward to taking the issue up with our next governor,” said the group’s president Barbara Listing.
Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have authorized Choose Life license plates, generating more than $21 million for life-promoting activities.
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