Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Montana is obsessed with specialty license plates

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM


Montana's Livestock Loss Board, which reimburses ranchers if wolves kill their cattle, announced its own specialty license plate yesterday. Proceeds from the sale of the plate will go toward the board's wolf depredation efforts.

This means Montana now has approximately 28,000 specialty plate options.

Not really, but it certainly seems that way.

The MVD website lists more than 150 different specialty plates for Montana drivers to choose from. For comparison, Idaho has 39. Oregon has 31. California? 11.

The range of what's available in Big Sky Country is impressive; there's even one for Girl Scouts of Big Sky Council.

The MVD breaks it down by category:


- 16 for local colleges and universities, including one for Miles Community College
- 5 for agriculture and forestry
- 9 for education, such as specific school districts
- 15 for communities, including one for Billings City Council (no Missoula?)
- 17 different military plates
- 2 for arts and culture
- 8 for museums (Montana Natural History Center has a pretty sweet design)
- 14 for parks and environmental causes
- 15 for sports and recreation
- 25 involving animals (wild or otherwise)
- 5 for youth groups
- 34 for service organizations and associations, including the Montana Newspaper Association and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center.

Why so many? First, It's relatively easy to get one. Qualifying nonprofits and government organizations need just to fill out some paperwork and pay a $4,000 fee.

Second, they raise at least some money. The MVD provides a four-page spreadsheet every fiscal quarter to show how much each plate raises for its organization. For example, Miles Community College earned $300 during the last quarter. Go Pioneers.

The University of Montana, meanwhile, raised $92,107.50.

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