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GEORGIA LAWMAKERS TAKE AIM AT GATORS CAR TAGS

Florida has a higher bar for specialized plates.

A harassed minority - Florida Gators fans in Georgia - got the chance this month to show their school pride on their license plates, but legislators are attacking the new privilege with a full-on blitz.

Unhappy that some states, including Florida, make it difficult or impossible to put the logos of Georgia colleges on their own plates, the state House voted 142-10 last week to keep those states' school logos off Georgia-registered car bumpers.

"Whatever is good for the goose is good for the gander. Whatever we allow here in Georgia would have to be allowed in other states," said state Rep. Barry Fleming, the bill's sponsor.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it enjoys the support of the chamber's leaders.

Under current law, groups seeking approval for a vanity tag must have their application approved and persuade 1,000 people to plunk down $25 apiece before the plates are printed.

University of Florida alumni in Georgia quickly lined up the necessary number of motorists, and county drivers' services offices began issuing the tags this month.

In Florida, the bar for getting specialized places is much higher than it is in Georgia. An applicant has to pay $60,000 and conduct a survey that proves an interest. The tag must then be created by an act of the Florida Legislature and must continue to sell at 1,000 plates a year to stay in existence.

The proposal passed with little debate, but the few who spoke up wondered why Georgia would crack down on residents willing to voluntarily pay what amounts to a $25 tax.

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