SPRINGFIELD – Gold Star spouses and parents will no longer have to pay registration fees for Gold Star license plates in Illinois, under a new law sponsored by State Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport).
House Bill 20 removes the $151 registration fee for Gold Star license plates for surviving widows, widowers, or parents of service personnel who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and lost their lives while in wartime service.
“On May 31, the Illinois Senate paused a moment to remember what Memorial Day truly represents. Several of us who served in the military were humbled to honor the young men and women who through the years left their homes and families to serve, and gave their lives for our great nation,” Stewart said. “Gold Star mother Vonda Rodgers spoke briefly at the ceremony. Vonda’s son, Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, was killed in action April 27, 2017, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Mrs. Rodgers reminded us that her son and other service men and women fought and died for our freedom. Freedom, not just to do anything we want, but freedom to do what is right.”
There are currently 374 active Gold Star plates in Illinois.
“Two years ago, I was also honored to join in a ceremony officially opening the Wall of Remembrance display in our state’s Capitol,” Stewart said. “Jim Frazier, a Gold Star Dad whose son Jacob was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2003, told those at the ceremony, ‘There’s an old saying that a person dies twice, once when life leaves their body, and again when their name is spoken for the last time. Remember them. Speak their names.’”
Passed by unanimous votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate, House Bill 20 has a Jan. 1, 2022 effective date.