During the notably grim legislative session of 2016, the office of Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins worked with the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) and other partners on HB 217, a bill unencumbered by Alaska’s fiscal strife.

HB 217’s goal was to established the Artistic License plate competition. It was our head lamp through the coal mine (ice cave?) of the state budget: we wanted a bill which, despite the darkness, would celebrate Alaska and celebrate art in public life. Helping ASCA become more revenue self-sufficient made good fiscal sense, too.

Besides: we believe that creativity, and maximizing the value our resources, are fundamental Alaskan values no matter our budget.

Nothing about Alaska is ordinary. If we have to print tiny rectangles of metal to hang on our cars, why shouldn’t we make them as awesome as humanly possible?

We weren’t alone with our thoughts. Our modest bill passed through the Alaska Legislature — with help from Senator Bill Stoltze and his SB 154 as the vehicle — and Governor Walker signed it into law.

Now, we get to see and share the best original license plates Alaska has to offer, while engaging in and supporting the arts.

Who says state government can’t be fun?