W. Virginia Bill on 'In God We Trust' Plate Advances

West Virginian drivers may eventually be able to proclaim their faith in God on their license plates thanks to advancing legislation.

The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would create a special license plate bearing the national motto, "In God We Trust." The measure, SB78, now heads to the House.

The bill would also allow special plates for nurses, volunteer firefighters, retired police offices, real estate agents and a children's hospital.

Jean Boggess, the Putnam County woman who helped bring the idea for the specialty license plates before lawmakers, was elated by the vote, according to The Register-Herald.

"I'm so tired of people taking God out of everything," she told the Beckley, W.V-based paper.

Boggess was inspired to create "In God We Trust" plates in West Virginia, the local paper reported, after she spotted a similar plate on an Indiana vehicle while driving through Kentucky.

If the special license plate bill is enacted, drivers would pay a $10 fee to apply for the specialty plates and a $15 annual fee.

After "In God We Trust" plates became available in Indiana beginning January 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed suit, claiming the the law authorizing them is unconstitutional for favoring that message over those on other plates. Last November, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court ruling that found the plates constitutional.

In South Carolina, residents can purchase license plates bearing the words "I Believe" alongside the image of a cross and stained glass church window.

Earlier this week, Virginian Governor Timothy M. Kaine signed legislation permitting the issue of special license plates bearing the pro-life inscription, "Choose Life." Twenty-three other states currently offer similar plates.

A statement issued by Kaine's office said that people who voluntarily choose to purchase the "Choose Life" license plate will pay the extra fee required for all specialty plates and an additional assessment that will be transferred to support the work of crisis pregnancy centers in Virginia.