Free Speech

New Hampshire Woman Can Keep Her 'PB4WEGO' Vanity Plate

The state attempted to recall the vanity plate on the grounds that it referenced "excretory acts or functions."


Any normal person driving behind Wendy Auger's vanity license plate would likely have a quick laugh and continue about their day. But for a while there, the state of New Hampshire didn't think it could tolerate "PB4WEGO" on the roads.

Seacoast Online reports that Auger first obtained the plate—in case you missed the joke, it's short for "pee before we go"—15 years ago. A few weeks ago, she got a letter in the mail saying it was to be recalled.

The state recently issued stricter rules about vanity plates, in the wake of a 2014 case before the state Supreme Court. According to the decision, resident David Montenegro—who has since legally changed his name to "human"—applied for plate that said "COPSLIE." The Department of Motor Vehicles rejected the application after employees found it "insulting." The court decided that New Hampshire's ban on vanity plates that were "offensive to good taste" was unconstitutionally vague and left room for subjective enforcement.

So New Hampshire produced a more carefully delineated list of subject matters prohibited for vanity plates. And one of the topics it bars is references to "excretory acts or functions," which technically includes Auger's plate.

"I'm not the type to sit here with a picket, but come on," Auger told Seacoast Online.

Since going public about her predicament, Auger gained a strong ally: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told CNN yesterday that he had spoken to the DMV on her behalf.

"Upon this being brought to my attention, I reached out to the Division of Motor Vehicles and strongly urged them to allow Wendy to keep the license plate she has had for the last 15 years," he said. "I recently left a message on her phone to share the good news that her plate will not be recalled."

While Auger's plate is saved, her fight highlights a larger concern about freedom of speech. How much power should the state have over what can and cannot appear on someone's vehicle? If your crackdown on offensive speech is sweeping enough to threaten a cheeky reminder to use the bathroom, was the crackdown a good idea in the first place?

NEXT: Trump Caves to Lindsey Graham; U.S. Troops To Stay the Neverending Course in Afghanistan

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. People don’t do what they are supposed to do.

    They don’t live right, speak right, eat right, not smoke or vape right…

    So, there need to be rules; and they need to be made to follow them.

    [SARC off

    1. Which is, I guess, where I would go with this whole thing; let people have the license plates they want…and live with the consequences. Want a license plate that says FKNGGRS? Better hope you never have to drive through the Projects. And if you do, and your beaten corpse is found next to your burned out vehicle, the cause of death should be listed as ‘suicide’ or ‘extreme stupidity’.

      1. Nothing worse than fake naggers.

        1. They are definitely annoying!

        2. As long as they are not niggardly, or niggle about it.

      2. I call “PB4NGGRS”

  2. COPSLIE would be an interesting thing to have on your license plate if you’re pulled over – which you will be.

    1. What do you have against small groups of trees?

  3. LOL. This is funny stuff.

    1. Who’s Wego and why does he need peanut butter?

      1. Wendy Gonzalez, a Mexican actress?

        1. No explanation of why she needs peanut butter needed.

          1. Her dog has a long tongue?

            1. Exactly why PB4WEGO shouldn’t be on a license plate your disgusting reprobate!

          2. It exists at the intersection of nonperishable street and calorie density drive, to put it stupidly. It couldn’t be a more perfect provision.

      2. That was actually my first take on it. If they’d challenged me I would have said what is so wrong about someone needing peanut butter? Then I’d have accused them of having a dirty fucking mind.

      3. That’s how I read it: peanut butter for your double you ego.

      4. It’s the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department’s nickname.

  4. (c) An initial or vanity registration plate shall not:
    (1) Include a zero;
    (2) Imply an affiliation with a government entity that is not true;(3) Refer to or be associated with any of the following subjects, in any language, whether read forward, backward, by mirror image or by phonetic spelling:
    a.Intimate body parts or genitals;
    b.Sexual or excretory acts or functions;
    c.Words or terms of profanity or obscenity;
    d.Violence;e.Illegal activities;
    f.Drugs, drug culture or illegal intoxicants;
    g.Gangs; or
    h.Racial, ethnic, religious, gender or sexual orientation hatred or bigotry;
    (4) Have more than 7 characters;
    (5) Have more than 2 ampersands, plus signs, or minus signs, and which shall not beconsecutive, such as &&;
    (6) Have any characters other than ampersands, numerals, plus signs, minus signs, or letters;
    (7) Have only numerals or only numerals and ampersands, plus signs, or minus signs; and
    (8) Have characters or combinations of characters which may cause difficulty of distinction or identification.

    Seems like an application for the license plate 8OO85 (8oo85) should be approved.

    1. Also, my vanity plate that I’d have if I didn’t think it were a waste of money and potentially asking to be hassled by legal-types: C2H5OH

      1. If you’re driving a flex-fuel vehicle, you should be fine.

    2. Doesn’t Rule 34 preclude any vanity license plates? I can make any vanity license plate sexual. Try me.

      1. How about WLLHUNG ?

        For William Hung fans, of course. Remember that guy?

        1. Carl Hungus?

  5. So New Hampshire produced a more carefully delineated list of subject matters prohibited for vanity plates.
    If your crackdown on offensive speech is sweeping enough to threaten a cheeky reminder to use the bathroom, was the crackdown a good idea in the first place?

    So now “carefully delineated” = “sweeping”? What is it you actually want, Zuri?

  6. Huh, back when I lived in NH, I used to see “PB4UGO” all the time. Perhaps a cousin?

    1. She’s had the plate for 15 years. Probably everyone on the NH seacoast has seen it once.

      1. Different plate. “U”, not “WE”. Just amusing that there’s two of them out there. But then since 99% of NH drivers have a vanity plate, I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.

  7. NON-vanity CA license plate issued to one of my wife’s co-workers a few years back: GOT420

    The funny part is that she hated it. Someone mentioned she could probably sell it for a goodly sum on Ebay.

    1. saw one yesterday, 7XXX469

    2. You must have meant “godly”….

  8. I’m shocked that the COPSLIE case still stands, given the clear conflict of interest in the AG’s office at oral argument.

  9. While Auger’s plate is saved, her fight highlights a larger concern about freedom of speech. How much power should the state have over what can and cannot appear on someone’s vehicle?

    How come no one ever questions the validity of mandating license plates in the first place?

  10. Much ado about nothing. Clearly, PB4WEGO stands for “pay before we go”, a demand that we eliminate the federal deficit within a generation.

  11. I’ve got a whacky idea. Just get rid of vanity plates.

    1. Or just let people put whatever they want on their plates. That’d work too.

      1. OR just get rid of license plates. Somehow the world got by without serialization of people’s transport until the past hundred years. God forbid you drive around anonymously.

        1. sign of the times. there’s no more humility, just people showing off trying to be big time. just like sodom in gomorrah. where are you God….

        2. I told you guys to vote for Badnarik

    2. get rid of vanity period. no more women being whores trying to be funny

  12. Freedom of speech is very important but equality before the law is equally important. If she gets to keep her vanity plate and others are denied, laws mean nothing. What the governor did was wrong.

    1. Indeed. But maybe he thought that it served as a message in the public interest.

    2. feminism on the march. more than equal to a man THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT that’s all this is, theres no equality. more man hatred so some whore can be funny…

  13. You know.. if they really have a problem with this there is an easy solution… just don’t offer vanity plates.

    Oh… but they make money off of that one, don’t they. So I guess they aren’t headed down that road.

    1. Yeah, that was my thought too.

    2. you couldn’t do that. the jews would have less money. can’t have that. so much greed…

  14. There was a time when the Thought Fascisti banned plates with things like pot, weed… on them, but let LSD plates provoke smiles. Country Joe McDonald had one that read GIMEANF!

  15. Live free or die.

    PB4 fighting the bureaucracy.

    Wonder what would have happened had Sununu hadn’t interfered.

    1. if Sununu hadn’t interfered.

      Edit buttons. They work!

      1. just another rino…

    2. yeah, I’m surprised NH can still have a white supremacist slogan on all their license plates.

  16. more reason defending senseless leftist vulgarity in our society like its something to be admired. you “libertarians” have lost your way… despicable…

  17. “The state attempted to recall the vanity plate on the grounds that it referenced “excretory acts or functions.”

    TRANSLATION: We, your obvious betters in Big Government, will decide what is free speech and what isn’t.
    After all, that’s why we’re in power.

  18. So it seems like the ruling was right about the execratory function. And how is that vanity? Seems like the opposite of vanity.

  19. Real libertarians don’t argue about what free speech is allowed on license plates, they point out that we should be free to move our private property on public thoroughfares without government permission.

  20. That message is a public service announcement that is a kindly reminder to the traveling public and would prevent unnecessary restroom stops.

    And it’s gently humorous.

    Besides I don’t think the tag agency would issue #1B4WEGO – too many letters and it might be confused with a hashtag.

  21. This country lost its way a long time ago and can no longer differentiate between what is truly important and whats not.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.