Arizona tea party supporters would have a new way of showing their affinity for the movement under a bill sent to Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday that creates a special "Don't Tread On Me" license plate.
The plate would feature the rattlesnake emblem and yellow background of the historic Gadsden Flag that is a symbol of the tea party movement. Opponents said the plate inappropriately promotes a specific political movement. Supporters said it's meant to stand up for constitutional principles.
The measure creating the plate and two others won final legislative approval late Tuesday in a 22-8 vote by the Senate. The House earlier passed it.
A Brewer spokesman said the governor hasn't yet taken a public position on the bill.
She faces a May 2 deadline for acting on the measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Don Shooter, of Yuma.
The Senate deleted a provision in the bill last month to have the state highway fund $32,000 of startup costs after critics objected. That leaves supporters of the special plate having to raise that amount to pay for its creation.
The bill also would create special law enforcement and youth development organization plates.
A Democratic congressman from New York plans to introduce a bill that would cut off 15 percent of a state's federal highway funds if the state provides a political group that advocates for the defeat of candidates any proceeds from the sale of a license plate.
Democratic congressman Gary Ackerman's office says he intends to introduce his bill in early May when Congress reconvenes.
Lawmakers have proposed similar Tea Party plates in Nevada and Virginia.