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Florida says no to public input on license tags

Florida will not accept license tags offered by public relations professional Kevin Cate, or by anyone else.

The state will stick with one of the four choices up for a vote at vote4floridatag.com.

Cate criticized the tags designed by the department and offered his own. At the very least, Cate said, the state should use the 15 million tags roaming the country to advertise visitflorida.com, which promotes tourism, restaurants and businesses.

Cate created the tag alongside squarefactor, a Florida design firm. It took about an hour and a half.

"It's basic branding," said Cate, founder of Kevin Cate Communications.

But highway safety spokeswoman Kirsten Olsen-Doolan said Florida will not take input from the general public. Instead, a panel of 20 people from law enforcement officers to tax collectors offered ideas for the new tags.

"In regards to a suggested plate design from Kevin Cate Communications, DHSMV has gone through a process to develop new designs that maximize readability. The process included a License Plate Redesign Committee that decided the plate should be graphic-free in the area where the alphanumeric configuration is placed," she wrote. "That is why all four designs the public can vote for between now and Dec. 14 feature no graphics in the center. We appreciate his enthusiasm for helping the department."

When asked if the agency would consider using the plates to advertise Visit Florida, Olsen-Doolan wrote, "Unfortunately, we are past the point in the process of accepting design concepts."