Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Appropriations Committee

ESSB 5889

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Modifying snowmobile license fees.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Nelson, Schlicher, Fain, Hatfield, Hewitt, Fraser and Kohl-Welles).

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Raises the snowmobile annual registration and renewal fee to $40 for registrations due on October 1, 2014, until October 1, 2015.

  • Raises the snowmobile annual registration and renewal fee to $50 for registrations due on or after October 1, 2015.

Hearing Date: 2/24/14

Staff: Dan Jones (786-7118).


In 1971 the State Parks and Recreation Commission (Commission) implemented the Snowmobile Act by entering into agreements with other agencies, organizations, and individuals to: (1) remove snow from parking areas; (2) groom trails; (3) provide sanitation, education and enforcement, equipment, and administration; and (4) certify volunteer instructors to provide safety training classes.

The Commission administers the Snowmobile Program with funds appropriated from the Snowmobile Account. The Snowmobile Account is funded from two primary sources: (1) a snowmobile annual registration fee; and (2) 23 cents per gallon of fuel, based on 135 gallons of fuel usage per year per registered snowmobile distributed as a gas tax refund. The Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SAC) advises the Commission on the use of funds and on the planned development of snowmobile facilities and programs. The SAC is made up of snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and representatives from the Washington State Association of Counties and state agencies.

All snowmobiles in the state must be registered annually by the Department of Licensing or a licensing agent. Snowmobile registrations are valid October 1 through September 30 of the following year. The fee currently is set at $30, the maximum amount statute allows. However, for vintage snowmobiles, defined as being manufactured at least 30 years ago, the fee is $12 annually.

There were 28,674 snowmobiles registered in the state in 2012, of which 248 were identified as vintage.

Summary of Bill:

The snowmobile registration fee is increased from $30 to $40 until October 1, 2015, for registrations due on October 1, 2014. The snowmobile registration fee is increased another $10 to a total of $50, effective for registrations due on or after October 1, 2015. The vintage snowmobile registration fee is unchanged.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.