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Smiley-face tags? Vermont legislator files bill to allow emojis on license plates

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Legislation has been filed in Vermont that would allow emojis on license plates.

The bill, filed by State Representative Becca White, was read for the first time Jan. 22 and referred to the House Committee on Transportation.

White is a Democrat and lifelong Vermonter from Hartford, a town of about 10,000 people located on the border of New Hampshire. One of her constituents requested that she file the bill.

Titled “An act relating to emoji registration plates,” the bill would limit people’s choices to six emojis.

“This bill proposes to create a new special registration plate with the choice of one of six emojis in addition to the distinctive number assigned by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles or the numerals and letters selected by the registered owner of a vehicle as a vanity plate," the bill states.

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It does not specify which emojis would be available if the bill passes.

“We wanted to leave it open to discussion,” White said in a telephone interview.

If the legislation were to become law, the state would follow the lead of Queensland, Australia, which introduced emoji plates last year. Drivers in Queensland can choose one of five yellow faces — laughing out loud, winking, wearing sunglasses, heart eyes, or the traditional smiley — on their plates.

White said the emoji license plate legislation was a “by request bill" that she filed on behalf of a citizen who’d heard what Queensland, Australia, had done. He was intrigued by the concept and thought it could work in the Green Mountain State, too.

“He felt it would be a cool idea that could engage young people,” said White, who serves on the Transportation Committee. She said she was happy to oblige the request.

“I don’t know how much traction it will get,” she said. “I think it’s a fun idea."

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Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.