Czech heritage license plate proposed

A new specialty license plate celebrating Czech heritage would be available under a bill considered by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee Jan. 23.

Sen. Tom Brandt
Sen. Tom Brandt

LB140, introduced by Plymouth Sen. Tom Brandt, would authorize the state Department of Motor Vehicles — in consultation with the Czech Honorary Consul of Nebraska — to design and issue Czech heritage motor vehicle license plates.

The fee for alphanumeric plates would be $5 and a personalized license plate would cost $40. All funds would be credited to the Department of Motor Vehicles Cash Fund. 

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Brandt said, tens of thousands of Czechs made their way west, resulting in many Nebraskans with Czech ancestry.

“We’re very fortunate to have many ways to celebrate Czech heritage and culture year-round in Nebraska, with August Czech Days in Wilber being one of the most popular,” he said. “Czech heritage is an integral part of Nebraska history.”

Layne Pierce, president of the UNL Czech Language Foundation, testified in support of LB140. The foundation was established in 1993 to preserve and promote Czech language, Pierce said, and UNL has offered Czech language and literature classes since 1907. Offering a Czech license plate would allow the community to continue to honor their heritage, he said.

“We take great pride in it,” Pierce said. “We now have the largest undergraduate program in Czech in the entire country. Czech culture in Nebraska is something truly, truly special.” 

Linda Taborek, treasurer of Nebraska Czechs of Lincoln and the Czech Language Foundation, also spoke in support of the bill. Nebraska is said to have the most people with Czech heritage as a percentage of the population in the country, she said, and a license plate would honor the contributions that their ancestors made to the state.

“It is another way to show the love of our heritage and how important it is to continue the traditions that have helped make Nebraska what it is,” Taborek said.

No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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