BISMARCK, N.D. — A retired farmer from central North Dakota is sponsoring a citizen initiative that would provide specialized vehicle license plates at no charge for volunteer firefighters and other emergency responders.

Seventy-year-old Norval Semchenko of Max heads a committee of about 25 people who submitted the proposed ballot measure to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Friday.

The signatures of at least 13,452 North Dakota voters are needed to qualify for the ballot.

Semchenko says the state would lose the revenue of vehicle registrations from volunteer emergency responders. And he says it would be a cost to taxpayers to make the special plates

But Semchenko says it’s a way to “recognize and honor emergency responders for what they are doing as volunteers.”

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