Sunday, March 18, 2012

Utah / News: Proposed MLK license plate avoids controversy, moves forward

After seemingly being derailed by criticism from his family, a bill for a license plate intended to honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has gotten back on track and is continuing through the legislative process.

In question is House Bill 506, which found itself struggling after Rep. Brad Daw (R-Orem) questioned language regarding the plate's fundraising goals, in which it was proposed that the money raised would be used for the promotion of "human rights" -- echoing the name of the Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Foundation that the plate will support.

Rep. Daw received a letter from Alveda King, MLK's niece, who expressed concerns that the Utah Foundation's chairman had testified to the House committee about his personal support for abortion rights. Ms. King urged the Utah House to address the issue of abortion, noting that her uncle would have denounced the practice and urging Utah to only honor the rights he did fight for. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Salt Lake City), the bill's sponsor, advised that the proceeds were originally intended to help fund scholarships and civil rights awareness.

Hence, the bill was amended with Chavez-Houck's approval, so that the plate's proceeds can only support the promotion of "constitutional" and "inalienable rights" (like life, liberty and/or the pursuit of happiness). The amended bill has since passed the House and is now working its way through the Utah Senate.

Sources: Deseret News Mar. 5 story, Salt Lake Tribune Mar. 6 story.

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