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Make The Utah Pioneer License Plate A Reality

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Please show your support for a new plate recognizing a key part of Utah’s unique historical heritage!

UPDATE (July): Pioneer Day is just around the corner and this effort continues to go forward! A few months ago, we put the legislation on hold to to ensure we have enough people committed to purchasing the plate. We know there will be thousands who want this plate but we want to show the demand before the next legislative session. This will also time the legislation with the 175th pioneer anniversary in 2022. Signing and sharing this petition remains critical!

We need at least 500 Utah residents who have registered Utah vehicles to sign this petition demonstrating a desire to purchase this plate. Having these commitments is crucial to bolster legislation that is currently being sponsored by Representative Melissa Ballard. Please sign and let your friends know about this and help make this plate a reality!

The plate is intended to recognize Utah's pioneer heritage as we approach the 175th anniversary of the pioneers’ arrival to the valley in 1847. The plate is an acknowledgement of pioneers of all stripes: from mountain men like Miles Goodyear and Jim Bridger, Mormon pioneers, non-Mormon merchants, US military personnel, miners and railroad workers to the first female voter. Ultimately, wagon wheels became iron wheels, auto wheels and then propellers and jet fans.

Many other states have plates highlighting their historical figures and legacy but Utah does not. Additionally, the plate will allow families and individuals to recognize the contributions made by their ancestors to the state (e.g. placing their ancestor's name or initials on a personalized plate, if desired).

Utah Pioneer License Plate Design Description

  • The wagon/handcart isn’t depicted specifically as one or the other. Since we only see two wheels, it could depict either one, thus including the different pioneer groups who came to Utah overland during the pioneer era.
  • The view of the wagon/handcart is looking backward, while moving forward. This suggests that as we move forward, we also look back and remember the state’s history and founding, the sacrifices made by these pioneers and continue building on their legacy.
  • The sagebrush bundle symbolizes the children who perished while crossing the plains, and is tied to the story of Bodil Mortensen who was with the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company that was trapped in the Mountains by heavy snow:
    • “The snow was already more than a foot deep, a blizzard was raging, and the temperatures were freezing...When they arrived at camp, in the wee hours of October 24, [Bodil] must have been sent to gather firewood. All she could find was twigs of sagebrush. The next morning she was found leaning up against the wheel of a handcart, twigs clutched in her hands, frozen to death.”

Note 1: Thanks for the comments on the "This Is The Place" motto. The "This Is The Place" motto is currently a place holder for visual rendering. The motto may change on the final design if/when the plate goes into production, it is really up to the legislature and Tax Commission and DMV but we're happy to pass on your comments so keep commenting with your suggestions!

Note 2: The bill sponsor (Representative Melissa Ballard) and the design team continue assessing possible funding mechanisms including: the state funding the initial run with standard fees eventually recouping the cost (a standard issue plate), early adopters covering the cost of the initial run (such as pre-purchasing and paying $50/plate until the overhead is reached), or designating it as a special group plate (similar to the 2002 Olympic plate) where a fee is charged to cover plate cost and a portion is donated to a nonprofit. Our preference is that 'plate pioneers' fund the initial run cost so that taxpayers are not burdened with start up even if that cost will be recouped later.

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