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Texplainer: What Happened to SO 6?

The DMV numbers and assigns each plate to each state office, from the governor on down. So how come I've never seen State Official 6 on the road?

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Texplainer

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Hey, Texplainer: What happened to the SO 6 license plate?

One of the "perks" lawmakers get — besides a free pass around the Capitol metal detectors — is the State Official license plate.

Distribution of the SO plates started in 1938 and continues out of ceremony, says Kim Sue Lia Perkes, a spokeswoman for the Department of Motor Vehicles. But it turns out the plates aren't really all that "perk"-y. Their owners don't get any special privileges. They can't run through traffic lights, speed with impunity or cut to the front of the DQ drive-thru line. The plates simply identify a driver as a state official. 

The DMV numbers and assigns each plate to each state office, from the governor on down. The governor is SO 1, the lieutenant governor is SO 2 and so on. Elected officials are allotted three sets of plates for their vehicles. Legislators, members of the State Board of Education, Texas Supreme Court judges and other elected officials all receive SO plates after being sworn in. The DMV takes the plates back when they leave office. 

But there's one plate that you won't find out on the road: SO 6.

The SO 6 plate was assigned to the office of the treasurer, a position that no longer exists in Texas government. Voters approved a constitutional amendment abolishing that office in 1995 and giving the comptroller control of Texas' purse strings. 

When voters dismissed the treasurer, the SO 6 license plate was dismissed, too.

Bottom line: There isn't one.  

Got a question for Texplainer? E-mail us at texplainer@texastribune.org.

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