- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles has released a second standard license plate design after the first attempt was criticized as inaccurate and sexually suggestive.

The department said Wednesday that it had finalized an adjustment to the design for the new plates.

Gov. Pete Ricketts’ spokesman Taylor Gage said graphic designers at the Department of Administrative Services helped the DMV tweak the design to more accurately portray the sower that has topped Nebraska’s Capitol building since its original construction in May 1930.

The department announced the first design in March, and it was immediately criticized as boring and sexually suggestive. Comedy Central and Saturday Night Live both featured segments mocking the plate.

The department stopped production in April after Omaha artist Jeff Heldt said he submitted the design in 2002 as part of a state contest. Heldt’s version of the Sower was based off a similar statue atop a bell tower in Michigan.

Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley said the new artwork is a stylized portrait created from a photo image of the Nebraska sower, a 19-foot tall bronze figure of a farmer hand-sowing grain.

“We appreciate the collaboration and assistance of the Office of the Capitol Commission in developing a new, modified image of The Sower,” DMV Director Rhonda Lahm said in a statement. “Production will resume immediately on the plates, and the department anticipates the license plates will be produced on time at no additional expense to the state.”

The new design is navy and gold, the colors of the state flag. It also shows the years 1867 through 2017, reflecting Nebraska’s 150 years of statehood. The DMV has said it expects to produce about 5.2 million plates with a new design between 2017 and 2022.

The department will begin issuing the new license plates January 2017.

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