AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has denied a group's latest attempt to create a specialty license plate celebrating soldiers who fought for the Confederacy.
The department's board voted 5-3 Thursday to reject the license plate design proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which features a rebel soldier carrying a Texas regiment's special flag at a Civil War battle. The plate was backed by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who said "there's no profit in hiding our history."
The decision marks the second time the board has rejected the group's specialty plate request. The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued after the board denied its plate design involving a Confederate battle flag in 2011, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision in 2015.
Critics of the recent design called the plate divisive during a public comment period last month, with 88 people disapproving of the sign.
"I can't imagine what it would feel like to be a black Texan and see this plate in 2018 — to know that my state, supported by my tax dollars, is giving its imprimatur to the glorification of people that believed in going to war to keep my ancestors in a state of bondage," read one comment provided by the agency.
The recent design was also criticized as looking similar to an existing plate that raises money for the Texas Bicycle Coalition Education Fund.
Robin Stallings, the cycling fund's executive director, said that confusion between the two designs could cause its plate's sales to suffer. BikeTexas license plate sales help raise money for bicycle safety courses for children, Stallings said.
John McCammon, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Texas chapter, expressed disappointment in the decision but said he isn't deterred.
"We'll probably resubmit using another Texas flag," he said.