“Don’t Tread on Me” or My Car

Flags, rallies and voting just aren't enough for the Tea Party anymore, so a Virginia division of the movement is pressing for legislation for a special "Don't Tread on Me" license plate.

The 912 Richmond affiliate of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots successfully got a bill introduced in the State House last month, starting the process of establishing the new way the party is protesting "the Federal Government's intrusion into the affairs of private citizens."

The plate is based on the Gadsden Flag - the yellow one with the coiled snake - that has become the adopted national symbol for Tea Party activists. The plate would look almost identical, with the motto "Don't Tread on Me" at the bottom of the plate and the snake in the middle.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper says about 600 people have expressed interest, including the state's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The General Assembly usually approves these types of bills quickly, but when strong political statements are involved, the bills have been known to lag.

Virginia has about 200 specialty plates, and any special interest group can get one so long as 350 pre-paid applications are first received by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV notes it can take up to a year to get the plates into production, but averages about nine months. It costs $10 for the standard plate.