Starting next year, more family members will be allowed to get Gold Star license plates in Illinois.The Gold Star is distributed by the Department of Defense to the immediate family of service members who are killed in combat or in support of military operations. In Illinois, Gold Star families can get license plates indicating their status, but the license plates were previously limited to spouses, siblings and parents of the fallen service member. A new law allows children to get the plates too.

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Gov. Pat Quinn says he saw some of these kids when he attended military funerals while Iraq and Afghanistan were in full swing. “And that little baby who might have been 1 or 2 in 2004 and’05, before you know it, they’re gonna be driving a car, and they should have that right to have a Gold Star license plate,” he said.

The legislation the governor signed, effective Jan. 1, 2015, was sponsored by State Rep. John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford).

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