License plate might keep the light on

Lighthouse buffs and state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen have faith that drivers would be willing to pay extra for special license plates that support their cause.

Haugen, D-Camano Island, has introduced a bill in the Senate that would allow drivers to pay $40 for a special new plate featuring lighthouses. The voluntary fee would be in addition to the state’s regular license fees. To renew the plates in subsequent years, drivers would pay $30, according to the bill.

For more information about Admiralty Head Lighthouse, go to www.

The primary beneficiary would be Admiralty Head Lighthouse’s nonprofit education and restoration programs. The 102-year-old lighthouse is at Fort Casey on Whidbey Island.

Other lighthouses in the state would be eligible to apply for the remainder of the funds generated by the special plates if the Legislature approves the bill.

The only criteria for lighthouses to be eligible is that they must be open to the public and staffed by volunteers, said Gloria Wahlin, Admiralty Head Lighthouse coordinator.

Wahlin said many lighthouses have indicated interest, including the Mukilteo lighthouse.

Supporters of the bill are buoyed by the success of recent plates benefiting stadiums, police, firefighters and universities. Haugen sponsored a bill last year that created a new plate supporting the Masonic Temple’s program to help children with speech disabilities.

“I have really supported the creation of special license plates,” she said, because it gives people the opportunity to support a cause and then display that support. At the same time, it doesn’t force others to pay for it, she added.

Haugen said she believes the bill has support in the Senate. Concerns may be raised in the House, but she still is hopeful for its prospects.

Lawmakers will have a lot of new license plates to consider this session.

Eleven different bills have been introduced that would create 17 new plates if they all pass, said Jennifer Dana, the state’s special license plates program manager. The proposals are coming from the state’s wildlife and parks agencies, a group promoting bicycle safety and the snow-sport industry, to name a few.

The boom in requests can be traced back to legislation passed in 2003, when nonprofit groups, governments, tribes and colleges were allowed to apply to a new license plates review board. Previous legislation created licenses plates for colleges in 1994.

Of the first $40 fee, the state would get $12 to cover startup administrative costs. In addition, the state would require each of the benefiting groups to cover about $31,000 in implementation costs. They could pay upfront or take it out of their portion of the fee, which would be $28 a plate. That would require selling 1,038 plates, Dana said – not much of a problem if the plates prove popular.

“It’s very possible to pay back the money within the first year,” Dana said. “Firefighters sold enough plates to repay the state within two days.”

The new lighthouse plates, if approved, would be available in 2006.

Reporter Scott Morris: 425-339-3292 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Boeing settles with Everett security guard claiming chemical exposure

Holly Hawthorne was assigned to Building 45-335 at the south end of Paine Field, while employees used aerosolized chemical sprays nearby.

A section of contaminated Wicks tidelands on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port acquisition marks next step in toxic cleanup on Everett waterfront

Private owners donated land near the contaminated Wicks Tide Flats to the Port of Everett. Cleanup work could begin within the year.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Democrats advance assault weapons ban, new rules for gun buyers

The measures passed a House committee without Republican support. They are part of a broader agenda to curb gun violence.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Most Read