By tradition, the advocacy and specialty license plates of Illinois are made from designs of stamped metal that are unique to each group identity and advocacy cause. As the number of specialty license plate designs has passed 100, Illinois law enforcement has raised intensifying concerns about the use of license plates to identify and track motor vehicles.
In response to these police concerns, the Illinois General Assembly passed a new law, HB 1081 (P.A. 99-483) to change the overall framework within which future Illinois specialty license plates will be designed and displayed. In the new framework, which will affect most new specialty plates starting in 2016 and going forward, there will be one overall Illinois stamped-metal specialty license plate design. Advocacy organizations and affinity groups that get permission from the General Assembly for their own license plate will have the right to work with the Secretary of State’s office on the design of a brightly-colored decal that will be attached to the license plate and which will be unique to each cause or group. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Rauner on October 23.
Some new specialty stamped-metal plates will continue to be issued. Illinois drivers who possess standing of honor, such as military service or receipt of a military medal or award, will continue to be eligible to apply for and receive specialty stamped-metal vehicle license plates.