My journey into Colorado activism started in 2019 when we moved here from the Commonwealth of Virginia and I went to register our car. I wanted to purchase Colorado license plates and quickly discovered the one I was looking for wasn’t available. While Virginia and 23 other states have an “In God We Trust” or similar license plate, Colorado does not offer that choice. I remember thinking to myself, someone should do something about that.
Two years later, I attended a Foundations for Applied Conservative Leadership workshop and met Kurt Huffman, who works for then-Representative Mark Baisley on his staff. I briefly told him what I had in mind for the In God We Trust License Plate. That evening Kurt contacted me saying he shared my vision with Rep. Baisley, and they wanted to move forward on the idea. So began the quest to create a Colorado “In God We Trust” special license plate. This road has been long and bumpy.
On the first day of the 2022 legislative session, Rep. Baisley introduced House Bill 1048, which was approved by the House Finance Committee and then held up in the Appropriations Committee. The Chair of the Appropriations Committee was adamantly opposed to the word God. We clearly had a fight on our hands.
There’s no doubt personal agendas and politics were at play. It took an extra effort by Representative Baisley and other relentless advocates to finally push it through the Appropriations Committee. However, time ran out in the session and the bill died in the House.
In January of 2023, now-Senator Baisley introduced Senate Bill 025, to once again, create a Colorado “In God We Trust” license plate. The bill easily passed the Senate Transportation & Energy Committee as well as the Finance Committee, and once again the bill stopped in an Appropriations Committee, sitting there for two months. Thanks in great part to Senator Baisley’s behind the scenes extra efforts, personal relationships, and a focused email campaign to every Senator, SB 025 finally passed the Appropriations Committee and quickly moved on to the House of Representatives.
The bill now awaits consideration by the House Finance Committee. It’s on their agenda for Thursday, April 27. If approved, it will move to the House Appropriations Committee. The challenge now is this legislative session ends May 6. A great deal must happen to get SB 025 though the House and signed into law.
Colorado residents have a say in the outcome of this bill. They are encouraged to contact their representatives and members of the House Finance and Appropriations Committees. The quickest way to do that is by phone or email. Contact information is available here.
Colorado residents should also express their support for SB23-025 by signing the secure online petition. There is no money involved and no commitment to buy this license plate. However, to sign the petition, you must be a Colorado resident and have a vehicle registered in Colorado.
The petition has been advanced in a grassroots way since day one, however, getting the 3,500 signatures we seek continues to be a struggle. Something we thought would be easy, is not. Surprisingly churches, Christian, and other religious organizations are unwilling to join in supporting this bill. Sadly, and unfortunately, it appears a variety of concerns and fears drive their reluctance to get involved, stand firm, and speak out.
This license plate honors and reflects our National Motto as approved by a bipartisan vote of the United States Congress in 1956. These four words are echoed on our paper money, coinage, as well as, in and on buildings across America. Phrases such as, “We the People,” and “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” are fundamental to who we are and what we represent. They are essential building blocks–the fibers of our Nation. Many speak about them yet will not defend them. Have we lost our voice? Are we afraid of those who mock God? Are we suffering from a growing bravery deficit?
This lack of courage is disturbing, pervasive, and yet symptomatic of our culture today. Even though churches proclaim trust in God, often their words and actions do not match. If they truly believe “In God We Trust” as a core value, support for this license plate should be an easy decision.
John Priecko, a retired United States Air Force Colonel, is the In God We Trust Special License Plate Program Director.
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