For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Rep. Brad Moulton has brought forward legislation by Governor Paul LePage to allow Maine's secretary of state to issue Gold Star license plates to family members of Mainers killed in military operations. Maine is one of only three states that don't offer Gold Star plates.
The governor will headline a press conference on the bill at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 28, in the State House's Hall of Flags. Other attending in support include John Mixon, of Ogunquit, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War who is raising funds to cover the cost of the plates. It was Mr. Mixon who brought to the governor's attention the fact that a similar bill two years ago failed due to lack of funding.
"The money is coming from private sources, so there won't be any cost to taxpayers," said Rep. Moulton (R-York). "A Gold Star bill in 2009 was unsuccessful because of a fiscal note of $10,700 to manufacture the plates. Mr. Mixon, my constituent, decided to take matters into his own hands." Gov. LePage said he plans to contribute to the fundraising effort.
The 2009 bill, sponsored by the late Everett McLeod, a state representative from Lee, would have made Gold Star plates available to family members of Maine service members killed in action since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The new bill would extend the specialty plates to relatives of Mainers killed in all military operations.
Since World War II, approximately 3,500 Maine residents have died in action, including 49 who have fallen in the Global War on Terror, mostly in Iraq (28) and Afghanistan (18). According to Peter Ogden, director of the Bureau of Veterans' Services, Maine lost 2,554 service members in World War II, 233 in the Korean War, 344 in Vietnam and two in Somalia.
The bill stipulates that a family member would include: a widow, a widower, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, mother or father through adoption, foster parent, grandmother, grandfather, child, stepchild and child through adoption.
The Maine secretary of state would determine the design of the family registration plate, verify the required documentation and begin issuing sets of plates for cars, trucks and motorcycles no later than January 1, 2012. ###
Maine House Republicans
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