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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

License plates for Amish buggies?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 24, 2017 4:46 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, August 24, 2017:

Drive behind a Amish horse and buggy in Pennsylvania and you'll see a fluorescent orange, triangular placard attached to the gray and black buggy and maybe a few cute kids too.

However, if a proposal in the State House becomes law, you'll see something else -- a Pennsylvania license plate.  Democratic Rep. Mike Hanna of Centre County wants Amish to register buggies like other vehicles and display license plates as well.  The money derived from the registration would go toward road repairs where the steel wheels of the buggies have caused damage.

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Dr. Steven Nolt - Professor of History, Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College

So how would buggie registration fit into the Amish way of life?  Dr. Steven Nolt, a professor of history at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College is on Thursday's Smart Talk to discuss.

Smart Talk's discussion about petroglyphs will air tomorrow, Friday August 25th at 9am.


- What about the cost to administer this licensing program? How much met really goes to the roads?         - Carolyn

- Leave the Amish alone.

This is just another way the Government wants to control the masses and generate revenue.

There is not enough impact on roads by the Amish to justify injecting the "English" way of life on their culture.

If some roads are rutted by buggy wheels and cause motorized vehicles to slow down, then slow down.

Enough of trying to empty wallets of money, PA Government!                                                                             - Donna, Newville

- In our small town, 18 wheelers are permitted on our Main Street, knocking down traffic lights and telephone poles, making illegal turns, and risking lives. Many central pa roads are rutted from truck traffic.

How about our state gets a spine and taxes them equal to this damage before we discuss the Amish.                           - Jason, Mechanicsburg

- I understand the concern that previous callers have expressed in regards to government overreach. That said, Pennsylvania doesn't have the fiscal flexibility to repair and routinely maintain roads used by buggies. The registration is indeed one way of raising such revenue. However I'm not sure how the Amish community would respond. Have there been studies to determine their response and participation?                        - Alex

- I think it would be a better idea to license the buggy drivers rather than the buggies themselves.  No doubt that the buggy wheels cause much damage to our less heavily traveled country roads which they prefer to drive, but it seems that we could address two needs at the same time if we required buggy driver licenses instead.  Too often I see very young persons driving buggies on roads with traffic that they don't seem to understand.  I had a neighbor who had started life in a plain sect and driving a buggy.  He later converted to a less strict denomination and started driving a car.  He thought it would be good for buggy drivers to understand the issues of motorized vehicles (stopping distance, speed, etc.) and vice versa.                              - Lisa

- Are they required to have insurance for the buggies?                             - Tim

- 1.  does any one take into consideration the money that tourists drop in pa from the amish?

2. the amish also use sleighs on the road....what about the sleighs?

in my view, large trucks do far more damage to both the roads and buried infrastructure then a horse and wagon

also i am confused they want to register the buggie for 36$  i just got my registration for 37$  what is correct here.

in my view, it is a crazy idea just so the strapped gov. of pa can grab more money to spend on nothing.  we already pay the highest gas taxes and we still are waiting for the improvements.                                            - Thomas, Manheim Township

How feasible to have designated lane for Buggies, like the bike lanes in some metropolitan area?    - Eric

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