Abbott, Judy: Bill would allow surviving spouses of Purple Heart recipients to keep license plates

Abbott, Judy: Bill would allow surviving spouses of Purple Heart recipients to keep license plates

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Tuesday, January 26, 2021

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 26, 2021) – Legislation State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City) co-authored that would grant surviving spouses the ability to obtain a Purple Heart license plate in honor of their loved ones advanced unanimously out of the House Roads and Transportation Committee today.

Abbott (R-Rome City) and his wife, who lost their son, Nicholas, in combat on May 12, 2007, are one of many Gold Star Indiana families. Abbott, who is a co-author of the bill, said Nicholas was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

"For those of us that live everyday with the pain of losing a child, a husband, a wife or any family member, remembering and honoring them becomes necessary," Abbott said. "Extending the opportunity to those spouses that have suffered such a great loss is the right thing to do."

Currently, Purple Heart recipients who have the specialty license plate can request multiple plates for vehicles registered under his or her name, which could include a spouse's vehicle. However, State Rep. Chris Judy (R-Fort Wayne, the bill's author, said when the veteran passes away the spouse cannot renew the Purple Heart plate.

"A constituent reached out to speak with me about this issue that affected her sister whose husband was a Purple Heart recipient that served in Vietnam," Judy said. "As a veteran, I was saddened to learn spouses could not continue honoring their loved one's sacrifice for our nation by continuing to display the Purple Heart license plate. This is a simple fix, and I hope it helps all those affected."

Eligible recipients are required to fill out an application and include documentation of Award of Purple Heart Medal before submitting it to the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

House Bill 1039 now moves to the full House of Representatives for further consideration. Visit to learn more.

For those currently eligible for a Purple Heart license plate, visit to apply.


State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City) represents House District 82, which includes 
all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.
here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Chris Judy (R-Fort Wayne) represents House District 83,

which includes portions of Allen and Whitley counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.