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House, Senate approve car tag bill

Lawmakers have approved several new specialty car tag designs, including those supporting military heroes, social workers and school children.

Even Elvis Presley fans would have a tag.

Each specialty tag costs $30 a year in addition to the local taxes drivers already pay for a generic license plate.

For most specialty tags, $24 of the $30 goes to the organization named on the license plate. The rest is distributed among the Mississippi Burn Center, the state Tax Commission, the local tax collector’s office and a special highway fund, said House Judiciary B Chairman Willie Bailey, D-Greenville.

Senate Finance Chairman Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, said the Gold Star Tag would honor veterans who were killed in action or died in a combat zone since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Under the bill, mothers and spouses of the soldiers would receive the tag for free. However, other relatives would have to pay the extra $30.

“It’s very important to the relatives of the ones killed in action or died in combat,” said Sen. Tom King, R-Petal, who is a Vietnam veteran.

Money from the Gold Star tag would be used to take care of indigent veterans in Mississippi’s veterans nursing homes, Bailey said.

Before any tag design can be manufactured, at least 200 must be sold. The Gold Tag Star was exempt from that requirement.

The legislation is headed to Gov. Haley Barbour. If signed into law, it would take effect July 1.

Some other groups authorized to get a tag under the new law include:

— E.E. Rogers Adventist Academy

— Ocean Springs Athletic Association

— Philadelphia Public School District

— D’Iberville High School

— Mississippi United Methodist Church

— Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks

— Mississippi High School Rodeo Association

— Our Lady Academy

— Fondren Renaissance Foundation

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The bill is Senate Bill 2852.