Bill would ask young Wisconsinites to redesign license plate

Bill would ask young Wisconsinites to redesign license plate

A legislator is looking for co-sponsors on a bill to redesign the state license plate with the help of the state’s youth.

Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) said Thursday that he’s circulating a bill to redesign the Wisconsin license plate, removing “America’s Dairyland” and replacing with something that would represent to “reflect who we are, not who we were.”

Allen said sections of Wisconsin’s economy, like technology industries, are left out of the current plate design.

The bill would require the state Department of Transportation to contract with an art-education association to conduct a contest in 2018 open to Wisconsin high school students. The association will narrow entries for consideration and the governor would make the final selection.

“We really want fresh ideas from a new generation of Wisconsinites to influence what the image of wisconsin is going to be long term,” said Allen.

The DOT would award a $1,000 scholarship to the winner, and the plates would begin issue in July 2019, according to the bill.

“By 2020 people in Illinois and Ohio and Missouri will be stretching their necks to see the fantastic new license plate on the road and they will think to themselves, ‘Wisconsin, hmm, I’ve got to check that place out,'” Allen wrote.

The words “America’s Dairyland” would not be required to be used in the new design, Allen added, but they wouldn’t be prohibited from consideration, either.

Dairy farmers want to keep the tradition to represent the strong heritage in the state.

“People across the country, across the world look at this as America’s Dairyland,” said Mitch Breunig at Mystic Valley Dairy. “People just value the product that we have because it’s just simply the best.”

Breunig said the $43 industry continues to grow and it’s worth celebrating. He said it doesn’t compare to the about $10 billion orange juice business in Florida or the $6.7 billion potato industry.

Last year Wisconsin produced a record 30 billion pounds of milk. The state produces 26% of the country’s cheese and now makes 600 different types.