By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Controversial Confederate flag license plates will soon be off Maryland roads. After an almost 20-year battle, a landmark court decision now allows the state to recall them.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren goes one-on-one with the attorney general about the decision.

He says this does not limit freedom of speech. Maryland joins the latest states, Virginia and Texas, to ban the plates.

The state fought a long battle to remove the Confederate flag from specialty plates, and finally won in court.

“The plates with the Confederate flag are offensive. They have no place on an official state symbol, on license plates, or anything other than a museum,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

Maryland’s Sons of Confederate Ancestors has been outspoken about growing efforts to remove the flag beyond just license plates.

The attorney general says those upset with the decision can put on a bumper sticker instead.

“If people want to display a Confederate flag, they have a first amendment right to do it. They don’t have a first amendment right to put it on a state license plate,” said Frosh.

The MVA will be contacting those with Confederate plates soon about the recall.

“It was the right thing for Virginia, and now we can move ahead,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

In Virginia, where the state has designed a new specialty plate–without the stars and bars–some are refusing to give up their old ones.

“It’s a battle flag–just a battle flag that we fought for. It wasn’t nothing to do with hate,” said Kevin Collier.

“The Confederate flag may be held dear by some folks, but it should not be supported or enshrined in any state document or institution,” Frosh said.

It’s soon to be history on Maryland’s highways.

The judge’s order goes into effect on November 17. It is unclear how long it will take to get all those plates off the roads.

In all, Maryland has issued 500 of these specialty Confederate flag plates.


Leave a Reply