Topekan Barbara Saldivar, state director of Concerned Women for America, launched an effort in 2002 for the state to offer “Choose Life” specialty license plates for Kansas residents, but it took 16 years for her to see success.
In 2018, the Kansas Legislature passed a bill that gave the green light for Choose Life license plates ā along with several others ā to be offered to Kansas residents. The bill was signed into law by then-Gov. Jeff Colyer.
Saldivar, who also is the founder and director of Christians for Life, credited state Rep. Trevor Jacobs, R-Fort Scott, with restarting the Choose Life license plate initiative.
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Rep. Jacobs,” Saldivar said recently, while seated with Jacobs and several other license plate supporters at the McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Topeka. “One of his constituents approached him and wanted to know if there was a Choose Life license plate in Kansas.”
Jacobs pursued the matter and included the Choose Life license plate in a bill that included other specialty plates, including ones that highlighted Special Olympics, a veterans organization and the city of Wichita.
House Bill 2599 says revenue from the city of Wichita and Special Olympics plates will benefit the organizations that named them. Because the veterans and Choose Life plates werenāt sponsored by any organization, revenue from their sales will be deposited into the Kansas Highway Fund. The Choose Life plates will cost $40.
Though some lawmakers expressed concern about the Choose Life plates, Colyer signed the bill into law.
“If it hadn’t been passed last year, it probably wouldn’t have passed this year,” Saldivar said, noting the change in gubernatorial administrations following the 2018 elections. “So it was God’s perfect timing that Rep. Jacobs took it and went with it.”
Jacobs called the passage of the bill including the Choose Life license plates a “God thing.” He credited his colleague Sen. Richard Hildebrand, R-Galena, with helping move the measure through the Kansas Senate.
While some may correlate the Choose Life plates to the “pro-life” movement, Jacobs said, the meaning has a wider application.
“It’s such a broad term,” Jacobs said. “It could be a husband who’s experiencing hard economic times and who thinks maybe he would be more valuable to his family through his life insurance policy. Or it could be someone who is depressed. We know that life is precious. It’s a gift from God.”
Kansas becomes one of 33 states that offer Choose Life plates. The design, which was made by Jacobs’ 10-year-old daughter, shows a baby’s feet with a heart in the middle, placed inside a sunflower. The plate is white in color with the word “Kansas” and the license plate number in blue lettering. The words “Choose Life” appear in maroon at the bottom of the plate.
The Rev. Gary Roten, president of the Christians for Life board of directors, said the Choose Life message has taken on greater relevance in recent weeks with reports that some states have approved measures allowing for expansion of abortion. The approval of the Choose Life license plates came at a “perfect time,” he said.
The message of the license plates also may serve as encouragement for people to place extra value on the gift of life, Roten added.
The plates won’t go into production until 1,000 have been ordered.
A website, www.chooselifeplate.com, has been set up to help people order the plates. The website was designed by Topeka Councilman Jeff Coen.
Those who order the plates will receive a form that will allow them to go to their county offices to pick up the plates when they become available.