Gov. Terry McAuliffe Wants Confederate Flag Removed From Virginia License Plates | NBC4 Washington
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Gov. Terry McAuliffe Wants Confederate Flag Removed From Virginia License Plates

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    News4's Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey reports on Governor Terry McAuliffe's plan to take the Confederate flag off Virginia vanity license plates. (Published Tuesday, June 23, 2015)

    Virginia's governor is moving to have the Confederate flag banished from state license plates.
    Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the decision Tuesday, citing the killings at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said states can restrict license plate designs.

    Virginia vanity plates include one that pays homage to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
    McAuliffe said he's asked Attorney General Mark Herring to take steps to reverse a 2002 federal court decision that said Virginia could not block the Confederate Veterans from displaying its logo — which includes the Confederate flag — on state license plates.
    At the same time, McAuliffe has asked his secretary of transportation to replace the plates depicting the flag.
    McAuliffe called the Confederate flag "hurtful" to too many people. The plates currently appear on 1,677 cars. 
    "This Commonwealth does not support the display of the Confederate battle flag or the message that it sends to the rest of the world," McAuliffe said.
    When Virginia lawmakers approved legislation in 1999 allowing the Sons of Confederate Veterans tag, they banned the use of the flag. But the group sued and in 2002 won the right to display the Confederate flag on the plate.
    Visitor Brooks McRee, of Mississippi said he thinks the Confederate flag only belongs in museums.

    "Historical symbols are important. I think [the flag is] being used for the wrong reasons now."

    Gainesville resident Lindsay Porter wondered whether the move would have much practical impact She said she had never even seen the plate.

    "While I appreciate the gesture and I'm a fan of this no longer being the symbol of Southern pride ... I don't know how much of an impact it will have beyond 'Look what we are doing too,'" she said.

    Last week, the Supreme Court issued an opinion in a case in Texas involving the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which suddenly opened the door to state officials who wanted to get rid of the flag.

    News4 contacted several members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for comment, but received no responses.