Legislature Passes Bill to Create New Washington Wine License Plate

It’s a done deal. After several tries by Washington State Rep. Kelly Chambers (R-Puyallup) to convince the Washington State Legislature to pass a bill that would create a license plate to celebrate our state’s world-class wine industry, House Bill 1530 was voted into law by the State Senate on Wednesday, March 9 and sent to Governor Jay Inslee for his signature.

The license plate project began three years ago when Chambers was first elected to the Washington State House of Representatives.  “I am a small business owner with businesses in Oregon and Washington,” explained Chambers.  “I have always loved the Oregon Wine Country license plate and thought Washington should have its own version, considering the size and significance of the Washington Wine industry.  So, when I was elected, I set out on a mission to make this happen.”

“Over the last 3 years, this bill has been through a lot of ups and downs, but I have remained committed to seeing it through, knowing that the businesses in our state that rely on visitors will be the beneficiaries of the funds this license plate will generate,” Chambers added.  “With COVID restrictions drawing to a close, I am thrilled that we will once again be able to resume some normalcy and start to see people going out to enjoy the restaurants, wineries, main street retail, and the cultural attractions Washington has to offer.”

Revenue from the license plate will be donated to the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) to support tourism efforts throughout the state. The Washington wine industry accounts for $8.4 Billion in state economic impact, including 36,500 related jobs and $2.4 Billion in wine revenue. In 2018, an estimated 2.6 million people visited wineries across the state.

The Washington Wine Institute played a major roll in the process that pushed the wine plate forward.  They collected more than 4,600 signatures on a petition that was part of the approval process.  The petition needed only 3,500 signatures, but they wound up with more than 4,600 signatures.

“Through supporting the idea that Washington wine is what our residents should choose first when choosing wine, to creating new revenue for the WTA to utilize in telling the country and world to visit Washington’s rural wine regions, the Washington wine specialty license plate is a clear win-win for our industry,” said Josh McDonald, Executive Director of the Washington Wine Institute.

Chambers will now turn her attention to finalizing a design for the new license plate with the Washington Department of Licensing, which will let Washington drivers know when the new plates will be available and how to go about applying for the plates.  In the meantime, start thinking about how you want your plate to read.

If you have time, you may want to thank Rep. Chambers for all of the time and effort she put in to making the Washington Wine License Plate a reality.  She can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 40600, Olympia, WA. 98504. Office: (360) 786-7948.