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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho Senate passes bill to create special ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ license plates

By Mia Maldonado Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho lawmakers are working to get an official state license plate featuring the Gadsden flag, the yellow flag from the Revolutionary War era featuring a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me,” serving as a popular symbol of opposition to the violation of personal liberties.

In an 18-15 vote, the Idaho Senate on Friday morning voted to pass Senate Bill 1317, which would give Idahoans the option to choose the special license plate, of which some of the proceeds would go toward a firearm safety education program.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, said there are 11 states with “Don’t Tread on Me” license plates including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Iowa.

“​​In essence, this legislation outlines a comprehensive approach to firearm safety, intertwining historical symbolism with a contemporary commitment to education and responsible practices, all while giving Idahoans an amazing license plate option,” Nichols said.

Legislators in opposition to the plate said that while they support the symbolism behind the Gadsden flag, that they do not think funneling money through specialty license plates is the proper role of government.

Those in opposition included Sen. Abby Lee, R-Fruitland, who said she has never voted in support of the specialty license plates, and she plans to be consistent with her previous votes.

“I would encourage you to buy bumper stickers … in a way to let everyone on the road know what you celebrate … and then make a donation to many, many worthy causes,” she said. “This is a worthy cause, and you can do that directly without any government bureaucracy or administration.”

The bill is headed to the House of Representatives for consideration.