ND bill on removing ampersands from license plates moves forward

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BISMARCK, N.D. - (Valley News Live) A bill introduced by the North Dakota Department of Transportation to eliminate the ampersand from license plates will go before a house vote next week.

House Bill 1094 was heard Thursday in the House Transportation Committee and advocates for removing ampersands told lawmakers it was a crime, safety, and software issue.

“None of the software in the national databases recognize the ampersand sign,” Rep. Mark Owens, R-District 17, said.

Rep. Owens serves on the transportation committee and was present for Thursday's discussion on the bill.

Owens said officers are put in jeopardy since license plates with ampersand signs can’t be read in the national FBI crime database.

“In the federal level they’re not interested in changing it and they won’t change it,” Owens said.

There are a little over 1200 North Dakota plates with an ampersand and the Peace Garden State is one of a few states that allows drivers to use the punctuation.

HB 1094 will be heading before a full house floor vote early next week, according to Owens.