by Courtney Llewellyn
On Dec. 3, Sen. Brad Hawkins (R-12th District) made a move to further support one of Washington State’s most important industries – its apple industry – by pre-filing SB6032: “Creating a Washington apples special license plate.” The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Randi Becker, Phil Fortunato, Bob Hasegawa, Steve Hobbs, Jeff Holy, Sam Hunt, Curtis King, Patty Kuderer, Mark Mullet, Mike Padden, Rebecca Saldaña, Tim Sheldon, Shelly Short, Dean Takko, Judy Warnick, Lisa Wellman, Claire Wilson, Lynda Wilson and Hans Zeiger – illustrating bipartisan support for the new plate from across the state.
In terms of agriculture, Washington State already offers a 4-H logo plate which benefits the state’s 4-H programs, and a Washington farmers and ranchers plate which benefits the Washington FFA Foundation.
This new plate, which would display the Washington apple logo, recognizes the state’s thriving apple industry, the growers and shippers who produce and pack the world famous apples and the tree fruit community. The money garnered from this license plate would provide scholarship funding to the tree fruit industry’s official charity, the Washington Apple Education Foundation, which provides financial support, professional employment preparedness training and mentorship to students with ties to the apple industry pursuing a higher education, according to the pre-filed bill. The 2020 legislative session, which begins Jan. 13, will discuss the bill introducing this new plate.
“I’m a big supporter of Washington apples and believe this bill will bring awareness to the industry and help raise money for local scholarships,” Hawkins noted on his website. “The Washington Apple Commission and Washington Apple Education Foundation do great work, so I am excited to partner with them on what should certainly be a well-supported bill. I don’t expect controversy but passing anything in a short session is a challenge.”
Todd Fryhover, Washington Apple Commission president, also said in the release, “The recognition of the Washington apple industry through this specialty plate, combined with the sponsorship support to the Washington Apple Education Foundation, is a win-win for our apple growers and young aspiring students pursuing higher education. I can think of no worthier cause than to support purchasing a Washington apple license plate.”
The Washington Apple Commission will contribute $6,300 in start-up costs. The state’s Department of Licensing requires a collection of signatures showing at least 3,500 drivers intend to buy the apple license plates. The total cost of the plates will vary depending on the design and licensing fees required for someone’s vehicle. Most of Washington’s specialty plates range in cost from about $60 to $75. The Washington Apple Commission is currently collecting signatures.
For more information, and to add a signature in support, the apple commission developed a website at www.ipetitions.com/petition/washington-apples-license-plate.