Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell is scrapping a much talked about part of his plan to rebrand Oklahoma.
Over the summer Pinnell, who doubles as the State Sec. of Tourism, said he wanted to overhaul how the state markets itself. At the time that meant new license plates. But now Pinnell is scrapping that plan, at least in the beginning phase, according to his Chief of Staff.
Back in July, Pinnell announced the beginning stages of the state's new brand, moving away from Oklahoma's current slogan "Oklahoma is OK." That new slogan was expected to mean new license plates, but Pinnell said over the weekend new tags are not a part of the plan expected to roll out early next year.
Pinnell didn't give a specific reason, only telling the Oklahoman there had been very little talk about new plates.
“The reality is, between passing legislation and giving DPS the time to prepare new plates, it’s my understanding that you’re looking at a good 9 months to a year time to get new plates off the ground,” the Lt. Gov.’s Chief of Staff Jeff Peters said. “It was never realistic – or planned – to have license plates ready in early 2020.”
Oklahoma got new plates in 2016 which cost the state millions of dollars and was quite the headache for many drivers. The light blue scissortail plates were also much criticized when they were unveiled.
The Lt. Gov. also dismissed rumors that a new state flag was in the works. There had been some speculation that changes to the face of the state would also mean doing away with the buffalo-skin shield.
Still a part of the plan is a new, more iconic slogan, updated state signs and a new logo that is meant to bind state agencies together.
New license plates are, however, “absolutely a part of the plan moving forward,” according to Peters. Transportation experts do suggest new license plates every 5 years, meaning plates could be ready for a change in 2021.
Peters said the Lt. Gov’s office is still exploring whether 2021 or 2022 will be the target date for new license plates.
The new state brand is expected to be unveiled in January or February of 2020.
** This story has been updated as of Dec. 10, 2019 to reflect a response from the Lt. Gov’s office.