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‘Choose Life’ license plate approved by Florida legislature

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Barring a veto from Gov. Lawton Chiles, Floridians will be able to purchase a “Choose Life” license plate by the end of 1998. Florida legislators approved the specialty license plate bill by a vote of 28-12 in the Senate and 77-41 in the House of Representatives.
If the bill becomes law, a portion of the license plate fees would go to aid adoption in the purchasers’ respective counties.
An amendment seeking to change the name of the plate to “Adopt a Child” failed, as did measures to bar certain anti-abortion groups from receiving funds. An amendment also failed that would have provided information about contraception and pregnancy prevention.
Funds from the tag are to be distributed to private agencies whose role is to meet the pregnant woman’s physical needs. The measure excludes those who provide abortion-related counseling, clinic referrals, advertising or for-profit services. The bill specifies that at least 70 percent of the funds be earmarked for material needs such as food, clothing and shelter. The remaining funds could be used for the adoption process, except for administrative or legal expenses.
In other action:
— The legislature voted in favor of tougher requirements for specialty license plate applications. The bill would double the application fee to $60,000 and require documentation that at least 15,000 people would buy a proposed tag. The bill would not apply to groups already working on current application requirements — a $30,000 fee and 10,000 signatures. Florida lawmakers have approved nearly 50 specialty license plates since the Challenger tag was created 12 years ago.
— The legislature passed a “Parental Notice of Abortion Act,” which prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion on a minor without giving at least a 48-hour notice to a parent or guardian, upon penalty of disciplinary action. The bill allows the mother to petition the court for waivers.