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Tennessee's specialty license plates — which help fund the arts and other causes, commemorate military service and celebrate universities — will soon be available as gifts.

The state Department of Revenue, as required by a law passed this week, will create a system in which Tennesseans can give relatives and friends $35 gift vouchers to buy one of the state's nearly 100 specialty plates.

Groups that benefit from license plate revenues have pushed for such a system as a way to increase sales, but because license plates are issued to individuals and associated with personal information, the state hasn't had a system to allow one person to buy for another.

Creating such a system will cost $641,400 and then $70,200 annually to operate, according to a legislative budget office estimate.

The Tennessean reported in January that sales of specialty license plates are especially important to public funding for the arts.

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