North Carolina will no longer issue specialty license plates featuring Confederate battle flag

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North Carolina will no longer issue or renew specialty license plates depicting the Confederate battle flag, officials said Monday.

The state’s Division of Motor Vehicles said the agency had received complaints about plates featuring the Confederate flag following nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“The Division of Motor Vehicles has determined that license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag have the potential to offend those who view them,” the agency said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “We have therefore concluded that display of the Confederate battle flag is inappropriate for display on specialty license plates, which remain property of the state.”

The policy, which took effect Jan. 1, primarily affects members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) organization, a civic organization that is allowed to have a specialty plate.

North Carolina will no longer issue or renew specialty license plates that feature the Confederate battle flag following complaints that the image was offensive, the state’s DMV officials said.

Frank Powell, the spokesman of the North Carolina SCV chapter, told WRAL on Monday that the group believes the change is illegal.

“The DMV doesn’t get to choose what logo we use,” Powell said.

The DMV, however, said the agency remains in accordance with a 1998 court case that saw the SCV sue the state for recognition as a civic organization.

The state Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the SCV, qualifying it for the issuance of specialty plates. But the DMV said the ruling did not entitle the group to dictate the contents of the government speech on that plate.

The DMV said that it will continue to recognize the group as a civic organization entitled to a specialty plate and remains open to considering an alternative design for the group.

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But until such an agreement is made, it will “either issue SCV members standard plates and refund any specialty-plate fees paid or provide them with different specialty plates,” according to the DMV statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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