At least, that could be the case for Vermont residents if a recently introduced bill, H.866, ends up passing. The short-form legislation, introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives last week by Rep. Rebecca White, would essentially allow drivers to add select emoji to vanity plates.
All-emoji license plates appear to be off the table, however. As the bill reads now, it seems like Vermont drivers would only be able to add one of six different emoji characters to an existing license plate.
That includes adding emoji to a Commissioner of Motor Vehicles-assigned license plate number, or adding an emoji to the combination of numbers and letters chosen by a vanity plate owner. That could suggest that it would simply be a cosmetic detail, rather than an actual part of a plate number.
If the bill does end up passing, it would make Vermont the first state in the U.S. to allow emoji characters on license plates. But, interestingly, Vermont wouldn’t be the first place in the world to allow that practice, NBC5 points out.
Last year, the state of Queensland, Australia began allowing drivers to add one of five emoji characters to their own license plates for $336. Those five options are the laughing face, smiling face, winking face, “love” face or face with sunglasses.
There are still some unknowns about H.866 beyond its ability to pass in Vermont’s House. For example, the bill doesn’t make any mention of how much it’ll cost to get an emoji-adorned license plate. (Current vanity plates in the state run drivers about $26 a year.)
It’s also not clear which six emoji characters Vermont will choose. The state could design its own emoji characters, or it could simply choose existing emoji from a repository like the Unicode Consortium. Vermont has about 3,178 characters in total to choose from as of 2019, according to Emojipedia.
In any case, Vermont may very well set the stage for other U.S. states to pass similar measures. As emoji become more commonplace in our everyday lives, there’s no telling where else they might start showing up.