Haslam favors removal of Confederate flag from Tennessee license plates

The Confederate flag is folded after it was removed from the casket containing the remains of an unknown Civil War soldier during burial in Franklin, Tenn., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. The body was accidentally unearthed from a shallow grave by construction workers. A Union flag is still seen covering the casket. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
photo Gov. Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today said that he favors the removal of the Confederate flag from some Tennessee specialty license plates.

Haslam said that he wasn't aware that the flag is stamped on some plates, but "I'd be in favor of discontinuing it."

Haslam signed the bill approving the Confederate license plates for motorcycles on March 14, 2012. The bill passed the state Senate and House by wide margins. The vote in the Senate was 27-3, and in the House voted 82-6 in favor, with one person voting present.

The plate, which features the stars and bars of the confederacy on the left side of the plate, is available to Tennessee drivers for an annual fee of $56.50, with $15.38 allocated to the Tennessee Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, according to the website of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs.

The plate can be personalized with five characters for a total fee of $91.50. The typical fee for a license plate is $35, according to the website.

Later, in Nashville, the Republican governor said he favors removal of a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from Tennessee's state Capitol.

But the governor noted that's not his decision alone to make.

Haslam made his initial comments during questions following the announcement that a Volkswagen supplier will invest $180 million in Chattanooga and create 550 new jobs.

The VW supplier, Gestamp, will double the size of its existing plant in Chattanooga and build another factory close to Volkswagen's Enterprise South Industrial Park site.