Senate GOP drives through ‘Choose Life’ license plate

Gary Heinlein
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — The Republican-dominated state Senate approved Wednesday a “Choose Life” fundraising license plate that its backers say would help support women with unwanted pregnancies.

Democratic opponents say the proposal, which would make Michigan the 30th state to have a such a plate, is blatantly partisan.

The 26-11 party-line vote sends to the House another revived piece of legislation after it failed to pass in 2014.

All 11 Democrats opposed adding a “Choose Life” plate — the slogan often used by Right to Life of Michigan — to the array of Michigan fundraising license plates. It would cost $35 for motorists who want it.

Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, said lawmakers should delay approving the plate while the U.S. Supreme Court hears two cases contesting similar license plates in other states. In one case, she said, a federal judge has ruled such plates violate a government neutrality principle.

“Let’s not put political propaganda on license plates,” Warren said. “Buy a bumper sticker.”

Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, the bill’s sponsor, said the slogan “is a message of love” and money it raises would support pregnancy resource centers that provide clothing and supplies for women and babies, as well as teach parenting skills. Funds, he said, also would promote adoption and “abortion alternatives.”

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder was noncommittal about whether he would sign the bill. “Gov. Snyder is waiting for the bill to be approved in both chambers and formally presented so he and staff can give it a thorough review,” spokesman Dave Murray said.