church and state hi res_new
Written by Don Byrd

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee concluded a specialty license plate that would have raised money for a religious organization is an improper use of state funds. He vetoed a “Choose Life” plate earlier approved by the state legislature, citing church-state concerns because half of the $40 plate fee would be designated for a religious organization.

From the Governor’s veto message (pdf):

The Framers of the United States and Rhode Island Constitutions constructed strong walls of separation between church and state. This bill compels the state to collect and distribute funds to an organization that advocates a particular religious and political viewpoint. It is my belief that state participation in the transmission of funds to this organization would violate the separation of church and state, one of the fundamental principles upon which our state was founded.

Coverage from the Providence Journal is here.