It was with much press coverage that Governor Jindal signed a bill into law last week allowing “I’m A Cajun” to be stamped on your driver’s license.Proving again his progressive leadership on vital state issues, Governor Jindal quickly signed the bill while avoiding all talk of a possible Special Session for legislators to fix Louisiana’s tattered budget, one-time money, or the state’s school voucher program.
A study showed that Virginia had the highest percentage of vehicles with vanity plates at 16.19%. Texans, on the other hand, must not be interested in having everyone know their business as Texas is dead last with 0.5% of their registered cars containing a vanity plate. This figure includes pure vanity plates where you can call yourself almost anything you want on your car.Every state has vanity license plates and they are huge money machines for the state and for some charities, but not many states do it bigger than Louisiana.
Louisiana has over 240 vanity license plates with everything ranging from current members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to supporting your favorite college high school or sorority; supporting your cause du jour (Protecting Wild Dolphins? Didn’t know that was a “hot button” issue in Louisiana); to proudly proclaiming that you are Pro Life or telling the world “In God We Trust”.Earlier this year, the state legislature did vote against allowing “I’m A Republican” or “I’m A Democrat” on your license plate. Something about a rise in the amount of people who wanted to drive around with “I’m A Communist” on their license plate.
But, do we really need a license plate telling the world that you are a proud graduate of “River Parish Community College” or that you are “Animal Friendly”? We should all be “Animal Friendly” not just those people who buy a license plate proclaiming that fact.And, what happens if you are a “Cajun American Indian Amateur Radio Operator who is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, supports Breast Cancer Awareness, 4H, Ducks Unlimited and Child Safety, and drives an Antique Car”? What do you do then? And, what if, after you get that license plate you decide you also want to support Coastal Conservation, Endangered Species and the Girl Scouts?
To the best of my knowledge, stamping “I’m A Cajun” on your driver’s license is a first. Previous license stamps were reserved for Organ Donation.In fact, even though I’ve only lived in Louisiana for 18 years, I considered getting “I’m A Cajun” stamped on my driver’s license. That is, until I heard there was test you had to pass.
I think it’s great that Louisiana residents are proud of their heritage and want to express that on their license plates and driver’s licenses. Bernadette Lee on KPEL 96.5fm in Lafayette said she hoped it would dispel some myths about Cajun folks and driving to work on alligators.And, she’s right (not about the driving alligators part – I know that happens).
Being the person that I am, when I read a law I always try to consider “unintended consequences”. Hopefully, when a Louisiana resident pulls out their license to buy beer in some Midwestern state, the clerk doesn’t read “I’m A Cajun” on their license, flashback to Duck Dynasty, and charge the man MORE money.In that case, we may need the “I’m A Cooyon” stamp on our driver’s licenses after all.
Just not on mine.