specialty license plates

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has backed Texas’ decision to forbid specialty license plates sporting an image of the Confederate flag, a ruling that could have national implications for how free speech protections apply to government services.

In a 5-4 ruling released Thursday morning, the court ruled that messages on license plates constitute "government speech," as the state of Texas had maintained in court filings and oral arguments.

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Texas license plates are receiving a retro makeover.

Called the “Texas Classic,” the new plate is decidedly basic: white with black text, the Texas star, a state silhouette and “Lone Star State” emblazoned at the bottom.

Many of those design decisions are driven by security: The Texas Classic has bigger letters and a new pattern – letters and numbers group together instead of interspersed – which makes for easier reading. There are also two anti-counterfitting threads embedded into the plates.

But there’s something about the monochromatic design that goes beyond security. With its throwback design, the plate arguably falls into the realm of “hipster branding.”

Photo by Texas Department of Transportation

Money that non-profits receive from a Texas specialty license plate program will be cut in half unless the legislature takes action, according to a coalition of charities. The diverse group of non-profits includes the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life and the pro-cycling organization BikeTexas.