Gov. Youngkin signs bills creating Black history, US Navy license plates

Virginia drivers can look forward to two new special license plates options in the coming months celebrating Black history and U.S. Navy members.

The bills were two of over 100 bills that Governor Glenn Youngkin signed into law on Friday, April 8.

Senate Bill 212 created a series of special license plates that would be available to active members, veterans and un-remarried surviving spouses of U.S. Navy servicemembers. It also created a Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Fund that will use fees to support the corps relief society in Virginia.

Jen Kiggans, the state senator for parts of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, called the plate “long overdue” since the state boasts the largest percentage of U.S. Navy members.

“Virginia has close to 300 different specialized license plates. We have ones for the Army, for the Marine Corps, for the Coast Guard, for sports teams, for universities and colleges — for lots of other causes. But there is no U.S. Navy plate,” Kiggans said during a Transportation Committee hearing in January.

Another piece of legislation, Senate Bill 753, offered special license plates that commemorated the Richmond Planet, a Black-owned-and-operated Richmond newspaper launched in 1882 by 13 former slaves.

“They focused on segregation, the doings of the Ku Klux Klan, voting rights and the scourge of lynching,” Virginia State Sen. Joe Morrissey said.

One of two designs for the Richmond Planet license plate. (Courtesy Reginald Carter)

The newspaper, which covered news ranging from regional to international, was a project that Virginia State Senator Joe Morrissey and Richmond resident Reginald Carter worked to pass through the statehouse. Carter told WTOP’s Nick Ianelli that he hopes the plates serve as a learning opportunity for drivers along the roadway.

“I just wanted this to be something that’s educational,” Carter said. “I would like, if someone sees the plate, for them to do their own independent research on The Richmond Planet.”

Both plates are expected to be available later this year.

WTOP’s Nick Ianelli contributed to this report.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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