ND Proposal Could See Special License Plates for Volunteer Responders

BISMARCK, ND — Volunteer first responders could display special license plates if an initiated measure is successful.

“We are trying to find a way to say ‘thank you’ and salute them,” said Norval Semchenko, Max, N.D., chairman of the petition drive to place the measure on the November general election ballot.

According to a McClatchy-Tribune News Service report, the measure calls for the issuance of “red personalized plates to volunteer emergency responders at no initial or annual cost to the volunteer. Volunteers shall include firefighters and emergency medical responders.” The format of the petition was approved Wednesday by Al Jaeger, North Dakota secretary of state.

If the initiated measure passes, vehicles with the special license plate would be allowed free entrance to any state park in North Dakota. The license plate would include the last three digits of the home zip code of the volunteer and three characters of the volunteer’s choosing.

The measure might have some practical applications also, according to Jim Reuther, Jamestown fire chief: “It could help with the (police) officers in letting firemen into the scene if they drive their own vehicles.”

Members of the North Dakota Firefighters Association currently can get a special license plate at a cost of $15 per year.

Semchenko said his group needs 13,500 petition signatures by July 9 to place the measure on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.