Missouri lawmaker's vow: No Jayhawk license tags on his watch

Monday, May 14, 2012

Take it as a sign that even though the University of Missouri is leaving the Big 12 Conference, its rivalry with Kansas University is alive and well.

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KU Alumni Association

This license plate is a preliminary design the Kansas University Alumni Association submitted last summer, when it began the process seeking approval for a KU plate in Missouri.

Two Missouri state senators are trying to quash the KU Alumni Association’s attempt to make a Jayhawk license plate available in the state after news of the effort hit last week.

“It’s a fascinating study of hatred,” said Kevin Corbett, president of the KU Alumni Association.

Corbett said the association was trying to provide the tags for its 30,000 or so alums in the state.

“Missouri happens to be a state where we’ve got a lot of graduates that would love a license plate,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the University of Missouri.”

Two state senators — Kurt U. Schaefer, R-Columbia, and Bill Stouffer, R-Napton — issued a press release Monday declaring their intentions to block the measure.

Stouffer is a co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight and the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He said he thought it was “pretty reasonable” to assume that the proposal wouldn’t make it out of the transportation oversight committee. After the news that KU was pursuing a Missouri license plate, Stouffer said his email hadn’t lit up like that since the Missouri House speaker announced plans to honor political commentator Rush Limbaugh in the state’s Hall of Famous Missourians.

Even though Missouri offers other universities’ license plates — Pittsburg State University and the University of Arkansas are two examples — Stouffer said KU was a special case.

“We can’t sell our souls,” Stouffer said.

But wouldn’t that mean Missouri is losing out on a new revenue source?

“KU’s turning down a lot of revenue by not playing MU in football,” Stouffer said.

He said he wouldn’t be able to look his grandchildren in the eyes if he allowed the KU license plate to go forward.

“My goal is just to save the world from a mythical bird invasion in the state of Missouri,” Stouffer said.