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Opposition to Confederate tag spurs lawsuit

The News Service of Florida reports that advocates of a proposed "Confederate heritage" specialty license tag in Florida will file a lawsuit against the state because the Legislature last session failed to include the controversial tag in a list of new plates.

A complaint expected to be filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Florida Division alleges that legislative inaction is unconstitutional. The group claims it submitted the necessary paperwork and paid a $60,000 new-tag filing fee last March, but a bill creating the tag went nowhere (it was HB 1159, sponsored by former Rep. Don Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs).

"We were not given the time of day by the Florida Legislature," the group's spokesman, John Adams, said in a statement. The lawsuit will ask a judge to create the plate and distribute it along with more than 100 others ranging from bicycle safety to fishing to manatee protection.

The News Service reports that 11 other states have Confederate plates, some of which were established after lawsuits were filed.

-- Steve Bousquet