WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Governor Gina Raimondo on Monday signed legislation to create a special fundraising license plate to benefit the Gaspee Days Committee.
The nonprofit organization operates community events in and around Pawtuxet Village, including the annual Gaspee Days Parade.
Gaspee Days commemorates the burning of a British vessel, the HMS Gaspee, that was torched by colonial freedom fighters in 1772.
“It’s integral to our identities as Rhode Islanders that our state struck the first blow in the fight for America’s freedom,” Raimondo said. “The legislation I sign today will make sure that proceeds from the new Gaspee Days license plate will support the Gaspee mission, and keep our Rhode Island pride alive for generations.”
The bill was introduced by state Rep. Joseph McNamara and state Sen. Erin Lynch Prata.
“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,” McNamara said. “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.”
“This plate will be a tribute to a great event and a great organization,” Sen. Lynch Prata added. “The committee has worked very diligently to celebrate and educate Rhode Islanders about this seminal moment in state and American history.”
The Gaspee Days plate will include a $40 issuance surcharge for those who wish to purchase one, as with any other specialty plate. Half of that surcharge will go to the Gaspee Days Committee and the other half will go to the state’s general fund. There is also a $10 surcharge for annual renewal of the plates that will go directly to the foundation.
There has to be a minimum pre-paid order of 900 sets of plates before the Division of Motor Vehicles will begin to issue them.