HOUSE BILL REPORT
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 gold star license plates.
Brief Description: Authorizing spouses of United States armed forces members who died while in service or as a result of service to apply for gold star license plates.
Sponsors: Representatives Hayes, Seaquist, Smith, Van De Wege, Kristiansen, Takko, Haler, Rodne, Sells, McCoy, Dunshee, Moscoso, Tharinger, Ryu, Zeiger, Green, Wilcox, Jinkins, Riccelli, Hurst, Morrell, Scott, Freeman, Dahlquist, Bergquist, Hargrove and Parker.
Transportation: 1/29/13 [DP].
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
Majority Report: Do pass. Signed by 28 members: Representatives Clibborn, Chair; Fey, Vice Chair; Liias, Vice Chair; Orcutt, Ranking Minority Member; Hargrove, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Overstreet, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Angel, Bergquist, Farrell, Fitzgibbon, Habib, Hayes, Johnson, Klippert, Kochmar, Kristiansen, Moeller, Morris, O'Ban, Riccelli, Rodne, Ryu, Sells, Shea, Takko, Tarleton, Upthegrove and Zeiger.
Staff: Paul Ingiosi (786-7114).
In the 2008 session, the Legislature passed Substitute Senate Bill 6678, the armed forces license plate bill, which authorized the Department of Licensing (DOL) to issue special license plates denoting the recipient of the plate was the parent of a member of the United States armed forces who died while in service to his or her country or as a result of their service. The DOL was prohibited from setting or charging an additional fee for these plates but all other license fees still applied. Applicants had to be a resident of Washington and a mother or father of the member of the United States armed forces. The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) would certify those who were eligible.
For purposes of eligibility the term "parent" was defined by the DVA to include:
mother through adoption;
father through adoption; and
adults who fulfilled the parental role including foster parents and kinship care provider or caretaker relative.
In 2010 the "Vehicle and Vessel Title and Registration Statutes - Reorganization" bill passed by the Legislature codified the Gold Star license plate.
Under current law, only the parents of a member of the United States armed forces who died in service or as a result of service may apply for Gold Star license plates.
Summary of Bill:
Eligibility for Gold Star license plates is expanded to include spouses of a member of the United States armed forces who died in service or as a result of service.
Spouses are eligible to apply for Gold Star license plates after meeting certain conditions set forth in current law:
be a resident of the state;
provide certification from the DVA that the registered owner qualifies for the special license plate;
be recorded as the registered owner of the motor vehicle on which the Gold Star license plate will be displayed; and
pay all fees and taxes required by law for registering the motor vehicle.
Spouses would also be able to transfer the Gold Star plate from one motor vehicle to another motor vehicle they own upon application to the DOL, county auditor or other agent, or subagent appointed by the Director of the DOL.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony:
(In support) This bill honors fallen service members and their surviving spouses for their collective sacrifices and service. The Gold Star license plate represents a way for surviving spouses and family members to identify persons with whom they share a kinship as well as show pride in their loved ones who gave their life in service of their country. Nearly all states have a version of a Gold Star license plate, and in most states the widow, widower, or spouse is first on the list of eligibility.
Persons Testifying: Representative Hayes, prime sponsor; and Gail DeBolt Hall, Gold Star Wives of America.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.