The vision has become a reality!
When you say you have a vision, some folks tend to wonder what you mean. Marion County Commissioner Randy Harris was driving behind a vehicle with a specialty license plate, when he envisioned a Choose Life specialty license plate. The year was 1996, the city was Ocala, Florida and the seeds of Florida's 51st specialty license plate and a national movement were sown. They took several months to "sprout" and early in 1997 Randy began to pull together his team and Choose Life, Inc. was formed. The Marion County Commission unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Florida Legislature to approve the Choose Life specialty plate.
Now many years and thousands of volunteer hours later, we have America's first first official license plate designed to encourage women with unplanned pregnancies to consider adoption as a choice.
Eleven Years and Still Going Strong…
Choose Life, Inc. was formed in Florida in 1996 with the idea to use license plate sales to help fund efforts for pre-natal care for women considering adoption services and to help pro-life pregnancy centers and other life affirming agencies get services to women who needed them. Initial efforts were difficult, but through persistence, legislators in Florida were convinced to support the effort. In 1997, the Florida legislature presented then-governor Lawton Chiles with the Choose Life bill. Amid national attention and some controversy, Governor Chiles vetoed the Choose Life plate. Even though Chiles vetoed the Florida plate, it caught the attention of pro-life advocates in other states. By summer 1998, Choose Life, Inc. had been contacted and asked to help promote similar efforts outside of Florida as well. So, in 1998, Choose Life was promoting not only legislation in Florida to get the Florida Choose Life plate enacted, but also helping groups in other states set up their own Choose Life license plate efforts.
In 2000, Florida passed the Choose Life plate. This was a great victory for Choose Life. But then the Florida effort shifted to promoting plate sales and helping pregnancy centers and adoption services fulfill the law’s administrative requirements so they could get the funds. For the next eleven years, Choose Life as one non-profit entity found itself involved in a great deal of work:
2011 proved to be a watershed year where Choose Life would be successful in getting improvements in Florida’s statute.
In 2011, Choose Life, Inc. was successful in changing the Florida Choose Life license plate statute. Click HB 501 to read the new Florida law (with a markup on how the law was changed). All Florida Choose Life license plate funds will now be sent to Choose Life, Inc. for distribution to the Pregnancy Care Centers, Maternity Homes and non-profit adoption agencies in the counties where the plates were sold. Choose Life, Inc. will also administer the funds and promote the plate sales.
This victory also means some changes for Choose Life as it had been from its inception. The original Choose Life organization will continue to focus on Florida, while a new entity, Choose Life America, will continue to pursue and promote the Choose Life license plate in other states.
Choose Life, Inc has set up a uniform application, distribution, utilization and reporting process.
For more information on accessing the Choose Life funds, contact Susan Choose Life, Inc. PO Box 276; Silver Springs FL 34489; phone (352) 625-8781. The new website for the Florida Choose Life license plate is www.flchoose-life.org.
Choose Life AmericaRuss and Jill Amerling have turned their full attention to helping groups and individuals in other states get the Choose Life license plate for their state. Their efforts are under the banner of Choose Life America. Choose Life America, Inc. is a 501c3 organization. For more information about Choose Life Amerca contact:
Directors Russ Amerling
PO Box 830152
Ocala, FL 34483-0152
Choose Life America, Inc. is an IRC 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible. Contributions and profits from the sale of promotional items are used to help Choose Life America, Inc. promote the sale of the real Choose Life License Plate which raises funds to support adoption efforts of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Maternity Homes and not-for-profit adoption agencies. Please consider supporting us. Everyone is a volunteer; no salaries are paid to anyone.
©2013, Choose Life America, Inc.