There are 60 or more versions of the Iowa license plate between standard, specialty, and personalized types and only three of them actually feature the respective county name of the holder. Iowa is also one of only six states to put the county name anywhere on any license plate, so according to Radio Iowa, a group of auto dealers is wondering, what could it hurt to make them all "county-free"?

Law enforcement, as you might guess, is against the idea

Senate Study Bill 3045 is a proposal from the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association, hitting the Senate Transportation Committee for debate, and Susan Daemon, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association says her group is opposed to it.

The license plate number, they say, is an invaluable reporting tool, but sometimes, the county name is equally useful. A survey of the law enforcement community showed 77 percent of them want the county name to stay.

According to Capitol Digest, Iowa Republican state Senator Mike Klimesh of Spilliville doesn't buy the idea that the county name is necessary for law enforcement purposes. If it is, Klimesh says, then why don't ALL the plates have it? (Incidentally, it would also not say the actual phrase "county name" as shown in the photo, but would simply be blank at the bottom.)

Daemon says if nothing else, keep the county name because "the people like it."

Generic plates could be a money-saver

That's according to the Iowa DOT, which says it could save nearly a quarter of a million dollars over the next 10 years by not printing the county name on plates. Also, staff and supply chain issues. It could be more efficient to send them out without printing the county name ahead of time, as some counties have a surplus of license plates that could be shipped to other counties.

There is also the anticipation that physical license plates may one day become obsolete altogether thanks to more "technologically advanced forms of identification".

The next step is a vote by lawmakers

So, while supporters of Senate Study Bill 3045 don't point to one single hard and fast advantage to eliminating the county name from license plates, they do come armed with their share of pros vs. the cons presented by opponents of removing it.

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