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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Lobbyist says new Friends of NRA benefit plate will sell better, because $$ won’t just go to road fund

Idaho’s last NRA license plate was discontinued for lack of sales, but the National Rifle Association’s Boise lobbyist says that’s because the money from the sale of the specialty plates all went to Idaho road funding. A new proposed “Friends of the NRA” plate will route proceeds to the NRA’s non-profit arm, so he’s predicting it’ll be an easier sell.

The House Transportation Committee approved the new specialty plate bill, HB 16, this afternoon, sending it to the full House for a vote. Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, displayed an example of the proposed new plate, and introduced National Rifle Association lobbyist Dakota Moore. “He can explain a little more about the Friends of the NRA and what they do in Idaho,” Dixon said.

Moore said, “Thank you, Rep. Dixon, for carrying this bill and listening to the fantastic programs that are put on by the Friends of the NRA.” He said the aim of the group, a non-profit, is “to educate the general public about firearms in their historical, practical and artistic aspects,” to “really promote safety and education in the state.” The group also works to “get youth outdoors on gun ranges and promote proper gun safety.”

Moore said he didn’t think the proposed new plate would suffer the same fate as Idaho’s last NRA specialty plate, which lawmakers approved in 2006, but which was discontinued in 2012 for lack of sales. Idaho requires at least 1,000 plates to be sold after the third year to keep a specialty plate on the books; fewer than 300 sold.

In that case, Moore said, because the NRA itself isn’t a charity, “All of the money from those license plates was going to road funding. As a result of that, there was very minimal opportunities to promote the license plates. … I don’t believe that will be the case with the Friends of the NRA license plate.” The new plate would be promoted at Friends of the NRA fundraising banquets around the state, he said, and samples will be handed out as awards. “I do believe that this license plate will survive,” Moore said.

Rep. Kelly Packer, R-Idaho Falls, moved to send the bill to the full House with a recommendation that it pass, and the committee approved the motion on a voice vote; two members, Reps. Wintrow and King, asked to be recorded as voting no. Under the bill, $22 of the initial fee for the plate and $12 from each annual renewal would go to the Friends of the NRA’s Idaho grant fund instead of to the state highway fund.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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