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Travis Baker blogs about the problems and idiosyncrasies of Kitsap highways and byways.
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Tribal vehicles licensed as government vehicles

October 11th, 2013 by travis baker

The in basket: Byrd Thibodaux e-mails to say, “I saw a Clearwater Casino van with a WA State XMT license plate I04495. Are the tribal casinos considered government agencies?  Are these plates free or do the tribes pay any fees for them?

The out basket: Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing says, “Tribal governments, like city and  county governments and state agencies, are entitled to register vehicles they own (registered to the tribal government, not to a tribal member) as exempt vehicles.

“When a government vehicle is first licensed as an exempt vehicle, the government or agency owning it pays fees that are typically around $30 to $35, depending on how it is titled and the number and size of the plates issued. Once licensed, the vehicle is exempt from annual renewal requirements fees.”

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5 Responses to “Tribal vehicles licensed as government vehicles”

  1. Phunnyphella Says:

    Wait, I’m confused, I thought that they were a sovereign nation. Why wouldn’t they issue their own plates?

  2. Willa Daemone Says:

    I’ve seen the casino bus at Jack In The Box, Wendy’s and Walmart at 2AM loading and unloading their “guests”. Since I’m not gaining anything from their tax input, I’m thinking that next time I need a cab, I’m calling the Suquamish to provide. Thank you Suquamish Tribe.

  3. pfsm Says:

    A good many tribes in the US do issue their own license plates. State laws concerning this vary quite a bit. I do know that the Quinault and Muckleshoot tribes do issue license plates in Washington.

  4. Don Erickson Says:

    You failed to answer the question. The operative word in the question is “Casino”. Are casino vehicles considered part of the tribal government? Is this a misuse of exempt vehicle status by the casino?

  5. deb Says:

    The tribe owns the casino. Therefore, any vehiclke the casino owns, is owned by the tribe.

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