JUNEAU -- Will the bear make a comeback?
Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, is seeking to reintroduce the famous "Standing Grizzly" license plate that briefly did duty in Alaska during the U.S. bicentennial, when most states produced special plates.
Starting Jan. 1, 2015, her bill, House Bill 293, would offer Alaskans the choice of a standard plate with either the current design -- the Alaska flag and the "Last Frontier" motto on blue and gold -- or the standing grizzly. There would be no change in the variety of more expensive speciality or vanity plates.
The bill doesn't require the DMV to produce an identical bear to the one from 1976, but it must be modeled after that design. The bicentennial plate had a mountain backdrop and was brown and white with red lettering.
Wilson said she got the idea from a constituent, who told her that he still remembers the looks and comments he got while driving through the Lower 48 with his grizzly plates.
"It was his favorite plate and he'd like to see it back," Wilson said. "It was a plate that reflected all of Alaska."
Though late in the session, Wilson said her bill stands a good chance of passage. She said it has generated no controversy other than from a man who complained during her radio show back home, "Peggy's Corner," that it was a waste of time given all the serious issues like the budget, education funding and the gas pipeline.
The first hearing for her bill is scheduled Thursday morning at the House State Affairs Committee.
Reach Richard Mauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-500-7388.
By RICHARD MAUER