Hawkins sponsors Washington apple license plate bill

Sen. Brad Hawkins hopes to honor our iconic Washington apples in 2020 by introducing legislation to create a Washington apple license plate.

Hawkins is teaming up with the Washington Apple Commission and the Washington Apple Education Foundation on the bill, which now has 20 bipartisan co-sponsors. The legislation is Senate Bill 6032 and has been prefiled for consideration once the legislative session begins on Jan. 13.

“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,” said Hawkins. “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.”

Officials with the Washington Apple Commission and Washington Apple Education Foundation are pleased that Hawkins’ proposal could bring more recognition to the state’s most famous and best-selling fruit, especially in a year that has involved the release of the new Cosmic Crisp apples.

“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,” said Washington Apple Commission President Todd Fryhover.

“For 25 years now the Washington Apple Education Foundation has worked on behalf of the tree fruit industry to impact lives of central Washington families through access to education. We are so excited to see that impact grow through this endeavor and are truly appreciative of apple industry members and supporters for creating new opportunities for students,” said Jennifer Witherbee, WAEF’s executive director.

Hawkins expects his legislation will be referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. One of the bill’s leading co-sponsors is 44th District Sen. Steve Hobbs, the Transportation Committee’s chair, as well as 14th District Sen. Curtis King, the committee’s ranking Republican.

As part of the process for creating a specialty license plate, the Washington Apple Commission will contribute $6,300 in start-up costs. Additionally, the Department of Licensing requires a collection of signatures showing at least 3,500 apple license plates are intended to be purchased. The cost of the plates will vary depending on the design and licensing fees required for someone’s vehicle. Most of the specialty plates, promoting Washington universities, sports teams, parks, military, and other interests, range from approximately $60 to $75, depending on the vehicle. The Washington Apple Commission is currently collecting signatures. For more information, the commission has developed this online site.