Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 28, Section 2354B (emphasis added):
A person shall display all license plates as required by subsection A until their lawful use expires or is canceled or revoked. A person shall maintain each license plate so it is clearly legible and so that the name of this state at the top of the license plate is not obscured...
After the jump, discover the exciting story of how my Redskins fanship led me to willfully break the law for over two months! (Warning: Gruesome pictures included. The following column is rated R: This content might be inappropriate for anybody who believes the Redskins are under 17 years away from their next Super Bowl title)
Ah, Arizona. The place where we're sweatily stripping down and enjoying a predicted high temperature of 91 degrees F tomorrow on March 3rd while the rest of the country is getting snowed in. The place where I was able to legally shoot assault rifles and semiautomatic shotguns with my buddy in the middle of the desert over the weekend. (Pics on Facebook, if anyone is jealous and wants to live vicariously) The state that, until recently, had the highest projected state budget deficit in the nation, ($1.6 billion) by percentage of general fund.
So... what do our state legislators do? Well, when you're already ranked 50th in education, it's not as if cutting the education budget further is going to hurt, right? But among this and other things, somebody decided that charging drivers $130 for partially or fully covering the state name on a license plate would be a good way to raise revenue, and thus, ARS 28-2354B came into effect on January 1st.
Observe my 100% illegal license plate frame:
Hah! What a dastardly rebel and scofflaw I have been! The "ARIZONA" is almost completely obscured! FIGHT THE POWER!! (Note: Yes, that IS my actual license plate number. No, you cannot use it for nefarious purposes. In fact, I demand that you completely forget it after reading this column.)
Perhaps I'm being a bit too hard on our hard-working state politicians; I mean, I do have a reputation of being quite snarky and sarcastic. After all, here, again, is our current state license plate:
Clearly, you can understand why they might be dutifully worried about the potential, and even, rampant, obscuring of the word "ARIZONA". According to a completely unbiased source(described as 'lobbyist for the police chiefs' in this newspaper article):
"...the frames had to go because they were concealing key information, not only from police officers but also citizens who wanted to report a suspicious vehicle. [He said] It’s important that they provide not only the license plate number but also the state where it was issued."
From the colors, state nickname, ubiquitous Saguaro cactus silhouette, and background resembling our completely undistinctive and forgettable state flag, you might not understand at immediate glance that this is an Arizona license plate. I mean, if you're not one of the approximately 305,929,680 people (also known as the entire population of the United States of America, as of March 2nd, 10:44PM Arizona time) who associate "GRAND CANYON STATE" with the state of Arizona, you might be slightly confused. And we couldn't have THAT, now, could we? Heck -- do the exercise right now: cover up "ARIZONA" with your thumb, then try to guess which state this license plate came from. HAH! You probably guessed Massachusetts, didn't you?? Well, you'd be wrong. It's an Arizona license plate, dummy!
Anyway, as a native-born Virginian and, ergo, someone who truly understands the War of Northern Aggression, I recognize the importance of state loyalty. Were the Revolution to start tomorrow, as my assault-rifle-toting buddy seems to believe, you wouldn't want to get caught representing the wrong state, right? So, admitting that my Washington Redskins license plate frame was demonstrably illegal, I set out to put myself in compliance with the law. After I finished work yesterday, my first instinct was to use the electric bandsaw:
Fortunately, it only took me a split second of touching the cycling blade to my frame to confirm that my plate frame would most likely be entirely destroyed by this. So, I decided to move on to manual means of cutting.
My next instinct was to use the old reliable tool for cutting metal and metal alloys: the hacksaw. Preparing for this, I locked my license plate holder in a vise and got ready to start hacking:
Suddenly, I was struck by an idea -- something that only someone with the mental faculties as limited as my own might have taken so long to realize. I didn't even need to use a hacksaw; there were heavy shears specifically manufactured for trimming sheet metal that could surely do this job.
Grabbing a pair of said shears, I was able to snip off the offending "WASHINGTON" section of my plate frame:
Boom! Disaster averted. Finally, my Redskins fanship did not interfere with my desire to be a law-abiding citizen. Check out how truly law-abiding I am now:
Thank dear baby Jebus! Now, everyone knows for sure that this is a legal Arizona plate, although I am admittedly slightly concerned that, without the "WASHINGTON" for clarification, fellow drivers might believe erroneously that I am an English hockey fan. Hopefully the burgundy Indian head nickels will disavow them of that notion.
Sometimes, the stupidity of our state politicians is enough to drive a man to drink. (But nothing girly. Whiskey on the rocks, please, and send a cosmo to the tall brunette at the other end of the bar?)
Still -- even a mutilated 'Skins license plate frame sans the "WASHINGTON" beats the Hell out of an intact Cowboys frame.