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Texas Highway Panel Kills Wildflower Plates

July 26, 1985

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Wilting under pressure from legislators who said the motto lacks macho, state highway commissioners defoliated the 1987 license plates of the proposed ″Wildflower State″ slogan.

The wildflower plates, OK’d by commissioners in April, also would have carried a faint outline of the state flower, bluebonnets, across the bottom.

But the floral motif was deemed too sissy by critics, among them 57 lawmakers who urged the three-man commission to abandon its earlier decision.

″I’m so tired of hearing things on license plates I’m going to spit up,″ Chairman Robert Lanier joked Thursday before the quick 3-0 vote in a room decorated with colorful pictures of the wildflowers.

The decision means the 1987 plates will carry only one word: ″Texas.″

″The weight of the world is lifted from my shoulders,″ Lanier said with a smile after the vote.

Lanier aide Bob Neely said critics claimed the wildflower plate was too sissy a slogan for tough Texans.

″It centered around the lack of the macho image in Texas; something to the effect that it dealt a blow to the Texas mystique, which we must treasure,″ he said.

The flower fight could nip any future efforts to add clever slogans to the Texas plates, which have carried mottos only to mark special events such as the 1986 sesquicentennial and the 1936 centennial.

″You’ll probably see slogans relegated to things like Hemisfair, sesquicentennial and centennial from now on,″ Neely said. While many states use colorful, elaborately-designed plates, Texas’ will remain ″distinctly dull,″ he said.

The legislative drive against the wildflower plates was led by Rep. Chip Staniswalis, who said he favored a motto more in line with Texas tradition and with more of a statewide meaning.

″We don’t have any significant abundance of wildflowers up here in the Panhandle,″ he said. ″I have no problem with something like the ‘Alamo State’ or the ‘Lone Star State.’ But to me, if we put on ‘Wildflower State,’ that would not be indicative of a slogan that would publicize Texas.″

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