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State lawmaker wants Confederate flag removed from license plates

SCDMV currently offers one specialty tag that has the flag on it.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A state lawmaker is pushing to have confederate flags banned from South Carolina license plates. 

Currently, SCDMV offers one specialty plate that has the flag on it. It’s for members of an organization called the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Richland County Democrat and South Carolina House Minority Leader, Representative Todd Rutherford, has introduced a bill to have it removed.  

"They don’t have to change their emblem, but the state should not put that anymore on people’s license tags," Rutherford said. "We need to not have any vestiges of slavery, any vestiges of that confederacy on our government property."

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SCDMV’s website says the plate costs 30 dollars for two years. A portion of that fee goes to the organization.

"The Sons of Confederate Veteran’s simply chose this as their emblem but that does not mean the state has to put it on their license tag," said Rutherford.

Preston Wilson, a commander for the organization in Charleston, put out a statement that says the flag should stay because it honors fallen soldiers. 

He wrote, “Rep. Rutherford is entitled to his opinion, but his legislation is an attack on our 1st Amendment Rights as a Historical Honor Society. Cancel culture shall not prevail in the Palmetto State.”

However, Rutherford said license plates have nothing to do with First Amendment Rights.

"When the government puts someone’s emblem on a license tag, that is government speak, that is not controlled by the First Amendment," Rutherford said. "It is controlled by the South Carolina General Assembly. That is where I’m a member and that is what we hope to change it."

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Rutherford suggested if members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans want to exercise their first amendment right on their cars, they should get a bumper sticker.

If the bill passes, the organization would need to come up with a new plate design that does not include the Confederate Flag. Anyone with the current tag would receive the new one once they go to renew their plate.

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