SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s database of banned character combinations on license plates has grown over the past 40 years to include more than 7,000 arrangements of letters and numbers deemed too offensive.
State legislators first got involved with personalized license plates in 1977 and the rules for obscene plates have remained the same since 1992, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
The obscenity criteria used by the Department of Revenue includes plates that “describe ultimate excretory functions or sexual acts in a patently offensive manner or make lewd reference to the male or female sexual organs.” Missouri also blocks plates deemed “irreverent or contemptuous of things regarded as sacred or that imply divine condemnation” in order to avoid profanity.
The law governing personalized license plates prohibits plates that are “patently offensive or contemptuous of a racial or ethnic group, or offensive to good taste or decency, or would present an unreasonable danger to the health or safety of the applicant, of other users of streets and highways, or of the public in any location where the vehicle with such a plate may be found.”
Applications for plates are regularly screened by the department. More than 120 combinations have been added to the list through June 15 this year.
“The Department has a team that reviews the personalized plate configurations request and they either approve or deny the requests,” spokeswoman Michelle Gleba said.
The newspaper has created a Missouri license plate checker to check if a plate is banned by obtaining the list through an open records request.