Each year, thousands of brave men and women say goodbye to their loved ones as they sign up to join our nation's armed forces. Sometimes, these heroes face some of the most difficult and dangerous challenges where their life, along with the lives of others, are on the line. In the legislature, we recognize their sacrifices and continuously work on policies – no matter how big or small – to better support our active service members, veterans and their families.
This year, a surviving military spouse brought to light an issue where she was unable to renew her late husband's Purple Heart specialty plate due to state law. Currently, Purple Heart recipients can register and obtain several of these specialty license plates, and spouses often display one on their vehicle. However, state law prohibits anyone other than the recipient from obtaining the plate.
I supported House Enrolled Act 1039, which would allow spouses to obtain and display the Purple Heart license plate after their husband or wife passes away. Permitting these Hoosiers to continue to use this specialty plate would not constitute Stolen Valor because the surviving spouse would not be claiming to be a recipient of this honor.
While our veterans make tremendous sacrifices for our freedom, we cannot forget those supporting them from home. Oftentimes, while one spouse is away serving our country, the other is tasked with managing the household or taking care of children, on top of worrying about if their husband or wife will return home. For many of these Purple Heart recipients, they return home with physical injuries or mental health issues that the spouse also endures as they help their loved one through recovery.
These veterans push through some of the most traumatic events to preserve the fundamental values our country holds dear. Their spouses remain by their side throughout their journey. Allowing surviving spouses of Purple Heart recipients to maintain their Purple Heart license plate is a small, simple gesture is the right thing to do. This bill is now eligible for consideration to become law.
If you have any input regarding this legislation or how I can better serve our community, feel free to reach out to my office at H32@iga.in.gov.

State Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) represents House District 29, which includes portions of Hamilton County.