WARWICK — Gov. Gina Raimondo signed legislation (2017-H 5424, 2017-S 0363A) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) to create a fundraising license plate to benefit the Gaspee Days Committee.
The ceremony took place at Aspray Boat House in Warwick, as the governor was surrounded by the bill’s sponsors, members of the Gaspee Days Committee, and members of the Pawtuxet Rangers militia.
Gaspee Days commemorates the burning of a British vessel — the HMS Gaspee — that was torched by colonial freedom-fighters in 1772, in what was one of the earliest events in the young country’s fight for independence.
“Because of the continuing interest in the annual celebration — not to mention interest in the 1772 event itself — it seems appropriate that Rhode Island should offer a license plate honoring the nation’s first blow for liberty,” said Representative McNamara, who has long supported the Gaspee Days Committee. “This is also an organization that has given so much to Rhode Island by preserving a heritage and legacy that is an integral part of our state and our nation.”
The Gaspee Days Committee is a civic-minded nonprofit organization that operates many community events in and around Pawtuxet Village, including the famous Gaspee Days Parade each June. The committee will be responsible for coming up with a design in cooperation with the Division of Motor Vehicles and the approval of the State Police.
“This plate will be a tribute to a great event and a great organization,” said Senator Lynch Prata. “The committee has worked very diligently to celebrate and educate Rhode Islanders about this seminal moment in state and American history.”
As with other specialty plates, the Gaspee Days plate will include a $40 issuance surcharge for those individuals ordering them, with $20 of that going to the Gaspee Days Committee and the other $20 going to the state’s general fund. A $10 surcharge for annual renewal of the plates would go directly to the foundation.
A minimum pre-paid order of 900 sets of plates is required before the Division of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing them.