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In Wake Of 'COPSLIE' Ruling, DMV Temporarily Halts New Vanity Plates

The state’s Division of Motor Vehicles has temporarily stopped issuing new vanity license plates.

New ones won’t be issued until the DMV approves a new set of rules for determining which plates are inappropriate and are rejected.

The DMV was forced to come up with a new process after the state Supreme Court earlier this year sided with a man who wanted the vanity plate “COPSLIE.”

The DMV rejected the request, but the court overturned that decision, saying the state’s argument that a reasonable person could find it offensive was too vague.

Department of Safety attorney Dave Hilts says new vanity plates won’t be issued until the department can craft new rules.

“We’re trying to be very careful that we don’t continue processing applications under the old rule because that would be a problem. And we also really want to make sure they everybody that submits applications for new vanity plates are all treated equally.”

A proposed new set of guidelines would ban plates based on specific categories, such as those contain profanity, references to violence, or illegal activity.

Hilts says the state will still take applications, and will go through them once the new rules are in place later this month.

He says vanity plates the state has already approved will be subject to the new guidelines.

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.

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