Politics & Government

Oklahoma makes over license plate, no change in the works for Kansas

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, foreground, speaks at a news conference to reveal a new design for the state license plate in Oklahoma City on Aug. 22, 2016. Every Oklahoma motorist will pay an additional $5 for a new plate that features the outline of the state bird, a scissortail flycatcher, on a blue background. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief Ricky Adams, left, looks on.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, foreground, speaks at a news conference to reveal a new design for the state license plate in Oklahoma City on Aug. 22, 2016. Every Oklahoma motorist will pay an additional $5 for a new plate that features the outline of the state bird, a scissortail flycatcher, on a blue background. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief Ricky Adams, left, looks on. Associated Press

You may soon start seeing a different kind of out-of-state license plate on the highways of Kansas.

Kansas’s southern neighbor, Oklahoma, is rolling out a new license plate design starting in January.

The new plate prominently features the white silhouette of a scissor-tail flycatcher, the state’s official bird, over a light blue background. The plate’s text includes “Explore Oklahoma” and www.travelok.com, a state tourism website.

It was unveiled recently in Oklahoma City.

“The new design will act as a travelling billboard for those looking to experience and explore our beautiful state,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin in a news release. “Just as important, the new plates are more clearly visible at night and will aid our law enforcement officers as they work to keep us safe.”

Oklahoma’s current design features the statue of an Apache warrior shooting an arrow at the sky and “Native America” below the tag number.

But law enforcement officials in the Sooner State were concerned that older license plates were beginning to deteriorate, dulling their reflective material and making them more difficult to see at night.

State officials celebrated the new plate. Some Oklahomans have criticized the design online, saying it looks more like the logo for social media outlet Twitter or the Mockingjay cover of the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

There are no plans in the works for Kansas to adopt a new plate design, says Kansas Department of Revenue Communications Director Jeannine Koranda.

The current design, the “Ad Astra Per Aspera” license plate, features the state seal against a light blue background. The state’s motto means “To the Stars Through Difficulties” in Latin.

You still see the old plate design on the streets of Kansas; it features the Statehouse in Topeka surrounded by a blue sky with puffy white clouds over fields of wheat.

The state rolled out “Ad Astra Per Aspera” plates statewide by 2010.

Koranda said state law recommends a five-year timeline for designing new plates.

“But the state has discretion based on how the plates are holding up,” she added.

Daniel Salazar: 316-269-6791, @imdanielsalazar

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