By Mark Robinson
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – It’s a high fly ball hit deep into center field – going back, back … gone!
Washington Nationals fans living in Virginia have something to cheer about even before the 2013 Major League Baseball season officially begins. Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed into law legislation creating a Washington Nationals specialty license plate. Here’s how it happened:
A constituent of Delegate Michael Webert led off by emailing the idea to the Republican legislator, who represents Culpeper, Fauquier, Rappahannock and Warren on the outskirts of the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
The proposal rounded first base after Webert agreed to sponsor House Bill 1387 during the 2013 legislative session.
The proposal barreled through second base after more than 450 Virginians agreed to submit a prepaid application and $25 to purchase the license plate if the Virginia General Assembly approved the bill. The assembly did so unanimously, sending the proposal around third base.
And in the bottom of the ninth, the proposal slid into home as McDonnell signed the bill last week. It authorizes the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to issue the specialty plate starting July 1.
Profits from the sale of the plates will go to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the charitable arm of the sports team. The foundation works with nonprofits in Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C.
“They’re a great organization, and hopefully the use of the funds will benefit families in the commonwealth,” Webert said.
For the Dream Foundation, the new plate is a home run.
“We are excited that the additional stream of revenue from the license plate program will allow us to expand our grants even further, ultimately making a greater impact on the organizations based in Virginia,” a spokesperson for the foundation said in an email.
Like other specialty plates, the Washington Nationals plates will cost $25 above regular vehicle registration fees. After the first 1,000 plates have been sold, $15 of the $25 will go to the Dream Foundation.
State lawmakers typically introduce five or six bills each session to create specialty plates, according to Sunni Brown, a DMV spokeswoman.
Eight specialty plates were proposed during the General Assembly’s 2013 session; four passed, including the Washington Nationals plate. Legislators also approved plates for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.
They will add to a selection of more than 200 specialty plates Virginia drivers can choose from. The DMV already offers plates for the Washington Redskins football team and the Washington Capitals hockey team.
“Virginians love their special plates,” Brown said. “If you’re a Washington Nationals fan, now you can get one, too.”
On the Web
You can browse the specialty license plates available in Virginia at www.dmv.virginia.gov/vehicles/#plate_search.asp