Georgia Senate passes bill to create ‘America First’ license plate

Georgia could offer specialty vehicle license plates featuring the tagline “America First,” following passage in the state Senate of Senate Bill 507 on Thursday.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch, passed 34-19 on a mostly party-line vote. Gooch, a Republican from Dahlonega, said the slogan — frequently used by former President Donald Trump and his supporters — would “reinforce a sense of national pride and unity.”

Sen. Josh McLaurin offered an amendment changing “America First” to “Donald Trump First,” which the Sandy Springs Democrat said would reflect “the heart and the spirit of the legislation” and would address “what the bill is really about.”

McLaurin said a previous, longer version of his amendment included the word “narcissism.” The amendment failed, despite attracting some Republican support, in a 29-26 vote.

Gooch denied the license plate was a reference to the former president.

“It’s not about a person. It sure is not about a person that’s in the White House, who’s been in the White House or who may be in the White House in the future,” he said. “It’s about our nation and our country and the state of Georgia.”

“If you’re not a patriot and you’re not for unity in this country and supporting what’s good for our nation, hit the red button,” he said, referring to voting “no” on the bill. “If you want to put our nation first and make America a priority, hit the green button.”

The bill still would require passage in the House and a signature from Gov. Brian Kemp to become law.