The House voted unanimously today to create a special volunteer firefighters license plate. It is expected that about 4,800 of the state's 15,600 volunteer firefighters would plunk down an extra $28 for the plates over the next six years and another $2 each year to renew them.
House Bill 1136 carries a 10-year taxpayer cost of $203,700, according to an Office of Financial Management fiscal report. But the measure sailed through without objection on a 94-0 vote and it would bring in some income from fees paid.
Democratic Rep. Deb Eddy of Kirkland and Republican Rep. Mike Armstrong of Wenatchee co-sponsored the measure, which now goes to the Senate for hearings and possible further action.
The proposal is meant to recognize firefighters and boost pride in their volunteerism. Among those testifying in favor in committee was Joel Moak of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. But Armstrong also said in this news release that it would help identify volunteer firefighters as they rush to emergencies.
Plate fees would go into the motor vehicle and correctional industries accounts. Plates are made in the state prisons.
Firefighters would need to have volunteered for at least a year, have proof of service, and also surrender the plates if they left service between two and 10 years – but not after 10 years’ service. Firefighters convicted of a felony also would give up their plates.