Tie-breaking vote over Confederate license plates rests on Perry appointment
Texas may be the next state to approve a license plate honoring Confederate veterans, but the decision rests with a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles board that split on the decision earlier this year.
One member of the board died earlier this year, so the tie-breaking vote could depend on who Gov. Rick Perry appoints to replace them. As Reuters reports this morning, the decision could cause trouble for Perry as he hits the campaign trail trying to convince voters he was never serious about toying with Texas secession:
With the member who was absent during the first ballot apparently keeping a lid on how he might vote, and public pressure mounting on the other members over their positions, the appointment of a replacement for the deceased member is especially weighty — and fraught with political landmines for Perry.
The new appointee could wind up being a tie-breaker.
But even if not, the decision either way could provide fodder for Perry’s political rivals as he attempts to win the Republican nomination for president and sidestep accusations of racism and censorship being lobbed by both sides of the issue.
Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/Texas-Confederate-License-Plate.jpgThe license plate proposal sits in limbo until Perry appoints a ninth member to the DMV board, and in the meantime groups on both sides of the issue continue lobbying for support. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson — who’s running for lieutenant governor in 2014 — has already come out in support of the plates.
The the Confederate veterans’ plates have been the prime target of the liberal gorup Progress Texas in recent months — along with their #PerryFML campaign — and Reuters quotes the group’s executive director Matt Glazer on his opposition: “We just don’t think that this sort of a racist relic should be licensed by the state, or should be used in any way by the state of Texas.”
The Texas NAACP is also opposed to the state issuing the plates. NAACP Washington Bureau director Hilary Shelton told Reuters, “Many would view that, quite frankly, as treason.”
The Sons of Confederate Veterans requested Texas issue the license plate, and the group’s Texas division commander Granvel Block told Reuters they’re about honoring the people who fought for the state, not the causes the Confederacy stood for:
The plates would honor his ancestor and the other Texans who fought for the Confederacy, which he said included African Americans who joined the Confederate Army in the final months of the war. There are several black members of the SCV’s Texas division, Block added.
“This is not about slavery. This is not about race,” he said. “Our intention is to honor and acknowledge the pride that we have in our ancestors, and in our organization as well.”
Nine other states either have plates honoring Confederate veterans, or are in the process of approving them, Reuters reports. In Texas, the plate would mark the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, and feature the “Confederate Jack” inside the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ logo.
The Texas Independent has reported on the controversy surrounding the state’s “Choose Life” plates, which cost extra and benefit crisis pregnancy centers around the state.
Proceeds from the Sons of Confederate Veterans plates would pay for markers to be placed at Confederate veterans’ grave sites.
Block told Reuters that it would amount to “the gravest discrimination,” for the state to approve other nonprofit groups’ plates and deny his.