New Arizona special license plates feature Coyotes, firefighters, more

Arizona drivers looking to sport some personality on their rides have more options thanks to four new special license plates.

The Arizona Coyotes, Midwestern University, U.S. Marine Corps and Firefighter Safety Training join dozens of other organizations and causes with plate designs available through the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division.

Of the $25 annual price, $17 goes toward a charity of the sponsoring organization’s choice.

Proceeds from the Marine Corps plates will help fund scholarships for children of killed or wounded Marines and Navy personnel.

“It’s supporting students in your backyard,” said Jeanette Casselano, vice president of advancement for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. “It’s a great cause.”

Casselano said the foundation provided scholarships for roughly 23,000 students nationwide in the past year, 87 of which went to students in Arizona.

The Arizona Coyotes join the state’s other major sports teams with special plates, including the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks.

“It’s something our fans have wanted for a long time,” said Liz Kaplan, executive director of the Arizona Coyotes Foundation. “I think it’s the best thing going because you get to show your Coyote pride and you get to give back.”

Proceeds go to the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, which supports organizations benefiting members of the armed forces and children, including the Boys and Girls Club and St. Mary’s Food Bank.

“That’s a lot of money toward what we do,” Kaplan said.

Proceeds from Midwestern University plates support scholarships for students majoring in health sciences, while money raised by the Firefighter Safety Training plate sales will help provide scholarships for life safety training in Arizona.

State lawmakers approved the plates during this year’s legislative session, bringing the total available to 63. They allow drivers to support everything from the three public universities to organizations supporting public safety.

Organizations are also required to raise a one-time payment of $32,000 to cover programming and production costs. The Motor Vehicle Division and the organizations work together to draft a design.

“We all have standards that the plate has to meet,” said Ryan Harding, an ADOT spokesman. “It has to be clearly legible, and we make sure that the design meets that standard.”

Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, has pressed unsuccessfully for a law requiring a standard design for new special plates , saying the wide variety of plates is confusing for law enforcement and the public. He said the additions only add to the problem.

“These four new plates have nothing in common with the Arizona plate,” said Farley, the Senate minority leader. “At a glance, you’ll have no idea where that’s from.”