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Proposed bill allows drivers to show ‘Cat pride

A new state bill, which allows for alumni, students and supporters of the University of New Hampshire to buy their own decal plates with the university logo on it, has just passed the Senate Transportation Committee and will go to the full senate for consideration.

The New Hampshire plate would be slightly altered to make space for the logo, but no specified plans have been made for what the plate will look like. Eventually, 501(c) (3)’s non-profit organizations approved by the state would be allowed to sell their own decal plates as well.

According to UNH Public Affairs Manager Thomas Cronin, the plan for a decal plate has been in the works for a few years. The idea was previously turned down over costs and the constitutionality of how funds would be dispersed,

As of now, there is no cost established for the plates, but the money raised will go toward the “Fund for New Hampshire Students,” which provides need-based scholarships to state residents attending UNH. The cost of the plate will depend on how much interest is gained by New Hampshire residents once it’s officially announced that the university is putting them on sale.

State Senator Dan Innis R-District 24, a co-sponsor of the bill and a professor in the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, is confident that it will pass the senate.

“It’s something that’s been done in other states. It works, it raises money. It reminds the residents of New Hampshire about the importance of the university and I hope it can give more exposure to others about UNH,” Innis said. 

Innis mentioned his alma mater (Ohio University) and the success of decal plates in that state. He noted that the program raised money and gave a sense of pride for the university. He still has his plate with the Ohio University mascot, the bobcat.

The vote by the transportation committee, which Cronin called, “a great first step,” moves the bill along. When the senate meets next week, the bill will come to a vote where it will either fail like past initiatives or become closer to law.

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