HB 1320

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.

As Reported by House Committee On:


Title: An act relating to certain gold star license plate qualified applicants and recipients.

Brief Description: Concerning certain gold star license plate qualified applicants and recipients.

Sponsors: Representatives Reeves, McDonald, Dolan, Stambaugh, Kilduff, Ryu, Klippert, Tarleton, Appleton, Sawyer, Jinkins, Bergquist, Pellicciotti, McBride and Riccelli.

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Transportation: 2/16/17, 2/21/17 [DPS].

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Allows qualifying Gold Star widows or widowers to apply for a standard issue license plate in lieu of a Gold Star special license plate and continue to be exempt from license plate and annual vehicle registration fees.


Majority Report: The substitute bill be substituted therefor and the substitute bill do pass. Signed by 24 members: Representatives Clibborn, Chair; Farrell, Vice Chair; Fey, Vice Chair; Wylie, Vice Chair; Orcutt, Ranking Minority Member; Hargrove, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Harmsworth, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Chapman, Gregerson, Hayes, Irwin, Kloba, Lovick, McBride, Morris, Ortiz-Self, Pellicciotti, Pike, Riccelli, Shea, Stambaugh, Tarleton, Van Werven and Young.

Staff: Patricia Hasan (786-7292).


The Department of Licensing (DOL) issues special vehicle license plates that may be used in lieu of standard plates. Generally, special license plates that are sponsored by a governmental or nonprofit organization have an additional fee that is due annually, with the proceeds benefiting a specific organization or purpose. Other special license plates are available to individuals that meet certain requirements. One such special plate is the Gold Star license plate, which may be issued to the sibling, mother, father, widow or widower, a biological or adopted child, an adoptive parent, a stepparent, a foster parent, or other adult that is legally responsible for a member of the Armed Forces who died while in service or as a result of that service. Gold Star license plates are issued without payment of any license plate fees and are replaced free of charge if the plate is lost, stolen, damaged, defaced, or destroyed. Additionally, a widow or widower recipient of the Gold Star license plate is exempt from annual vehicle registration fees. This qualifying special license plate is limited to one personal use motor vehicle per individual.


Summary of Substitute Bill:

The widow or widower of a member of the Armed Forces who died while in service or as a result of that service may apply for a standard issue license plate in lieu of the Gold Star special license plate for one personal use motor vehicle and be exempt from both annual vehicle registration and license plate fees for that vehicle.

Substitute Bill Compared to Original Bill:

The substitute bill removes ambiguous language.


Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

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

Staff Summary of Public Testimony:

(In support) The intent is to ensure that Gold Star widows and widowers are able to receive benefits the state affords to them without the person having to disclose their gold star status through a Gold Star special license plate. Situations have arisen where the widow or widower is uncomfortable displaying their gold star status publicly but would still like to receive the benefits.

(Opposed) None.

Persons Testifying: Representative Reeves, prime sponsor; and Heidi Audette, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.