An image of a Utah vanity license plate recently surfaced on Twitter, igniting widespread backlash against the car owner. The plate, reading “DEPORTM,” was deemed offensive by many residents of the state.

High school English teacher Matt Pacenza brought attention to the plate by tweeting a photo of it and questioning how it passed the state’s guidelines.

The tweet garnered significant responses, with over a hundred people expressing shock and dismay at the oversight. A CNN affiliate, KSL, reached out to the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which confirmed the authenticity of the plate and its approval back in 2015.While offensive speech is sometimes protected by the First Amendment, states have the authority to establish rules to prevent offensive messages on vanity license plates. The DMV’s website states that combinations deemed vulgar, derogatory, or obscene are not allowed.Republican State Senator Daniel Thatcher also expressed concern over the plate and initiated an investigation by the state Tax Commission into its creation and approval. He criticized the use of state resources to promote divisiveness.State Senator Luz Escamilla echoed these sentiments, scheduling a review of the issue at a legislative committee meeting. Representatives from the Tax Commission and the DMV were expected to attend and clarify the approval process for vanity plates.In response to inquiries, the DMV provided a list of rejected vanity plate names, including “SAUSAGE,” “NSTYHOE,” “W1NGMAN,” and “PLAN B.”



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