New Miss. license plates tout state’s music history

Published 12:12 am Saturday, September 22, 2012

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Adams County Tax Collector Peter Burns Jr. holds up a Mississippi license plate with the new design that will replace the current lighthouse design. The license plate features B.B. King’s guitar, Lucille.

NATCHEZ — For the last five years, the Biloxi Light lighthouse has crossed millions if not billions of Adams County road miles.

But starting next month, it will be making fewer and fewer trips around the area, and by next October the only place you’ll see the Biloxi Light is in Biloxi.

In its place, B.B. King’s guitar, Lucille, will be touring the roads, tacked onto the back of every legally registered vehicle in the state.

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Adams County Tax Collector Peter Burns said the state changes license plate designs every five years, and starting Oct. 1 when people renew their plates they will be given the new design, which features a picture of the guitar in the center of the plate with a banner bearing the phrase “Birthplace of America’s music” inscribed above it. The background of the plate is a field of blue and white lines.

“I remember when the lighthouse plate came out, because it was a couple of years after Hurricane Katrina, and it was a perfect one for the time because the lighthouse had withstood the ravages of the storm,” Burns said.

“I’ve had the new plate on display in my office, and like with everything else, some people like it and some people don’t.”

Those whose plates expire in September, even if they wait until October to renew them, will still have another year of sporting the lighthouse plates.

“For at least a year we will have a mix of some of the old and some of the new,” Burns said.

“As people renew throughout the year as their plates expire, they will get a new plate.”

More important than the new design, Burns said, is that all those with handicapped license plates and placards will be required to get a new statement from their medical provider requesting that their handicapped plate be reissued.

“Even though it says ‘permanent’ (on the placard), they expire every five years,” Burns said. “Anyone who has a placard or plate is going to have to get a new letter from their doctor. I will not be able to issue the plate without the new letter.”

Burns said those who need to renew their handicapped plates can pick up the appropriate forms for renewal at the county tax office or can obtain them online at