032222cm0483 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) would make more members of Gold Star families eligible to receive dedicated license plates.

“When a brave individual decides to step up and serve our country, their family serves, too,” Ellman said. “Missed holidays, birthdays and other special occasions are the price our service members and their families pay, and when a life is lost in the line of duty, loved ones are left with empty chairs and broken hearts.”

House Bill 5078 expands the current eligibility list for Gold Star Family license plates to include stepchildren, adopted children and half-siblings of veterans who lost their lives serving in a branch of the United States Armed Forces, and waives the registration fee for children in Gold Star Families. The legislation also aligns existing language regarding eligibility for a Gold Star lapel button with language used by the Department of Defense.

“Gold Star Families have made sacrifices that cannot be repaid,” Ellman said. “This legislation ensures that we are able to offer them the utmost respect and recognition for that sacrifice.”

Having passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday, the legislation will now go before the full Senate for further consideration.

naper settlement rNAPERVILLE – Three local museums are set to receive more than $1.8 million in Public Museum Capital Grants, State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) and State Representative Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville) announced on Friday.

“Local museums and exhibits provide priceless, hands-on learning opportunities for families in our community,” Ellman said. “I’m pleased to see investment in these invaluable institutions right here in our back yards. These grants will create jobs and preserve our museums for future generations to enjoy.”

The Illinois Public Museums Capital Grants Program, overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is open to any museum operated by local government or located on municipally owned land. Public museums are eligible to receive up to $750,000 through the program, and matching funds may be required based on museum attendance levels.

“Not only do our museums offer fun and immersive educational opportunities, they bring families from across Illinois to our community—driving the local economy and boosting tourism,” Yang Rohr said. “We are lucky to have these fantastic institutions in our community, and I’m glad to see them receive this well-deserved investment.”

The following local museums were selected to receive grants:

  • The DuPage Children’s Museum - $302,700 to create a “Questioners: Think. Question. Read. Play!” exhibit
  • Naperville Heritage Society - $749,700 for a Naper Settlement Digital Experience Welcome Zone
  • Wheaton Park District - $750,000 for restoration and stabilization of historic masonry in the DuPage County Historical Museum

More information about the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program is available online.

Ellman is also encouraging residents interested in visiting local museums to reach out to her district office to access her museum resource education card. Use of the card is completely free, and constituents may check out the card for two consecutive days to admit the cardholder and three guests to many local institutions. A full list of participating institutions can be viewed on Ellman’s website, and her office can be reached at 630-601-9961. Interested residents are asked to reserve the card three business days in advance of their anticipated visit.

Women r rNAPERVILLE – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) and State Representative Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville) are teaming up to host a virtual discussion with retired U. S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ginny Narsete in celebration of Women’s History Month and newly-announced Women Veterans Recognition Month in Illinois. The panel will be held on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. via Facebook live.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than speaking with women from our community who have played a first-hand part in shattering glass ceilings for an entire generation of women and girls,” Ellman said. “We have so much to learn from these trailblazers and their unwavering courage, and I’m honored to be part of the conversation.”

Narsete and fellow service member Navy Reserve Judge Lis Pennix are the founders of Operation HerStory, an organization founded to serve women veterans and highlight their often forgotten contributions. Narsete and her team have made it their mission to take women veterans from across Illinois on veterans flights to Washington, D.C. Veterans making the one-day trip have the opportunity to visit the war memorials built in their honor, including the Women in Military Service For America Memorial and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

Operation HerStory completed its first all-women veterans flight on Oct. 6, 2021. The flight consisted of 93 women veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War era. Narsete credits Daughters of the American Revolution, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, the DuPage Foundation, the American Legion, the McCormick Foundation, and many other organizations for embracing women veterans and helping to make the flight possible.

“All service members deserve thanks and recognition for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country, but far too often our women in uniform are left out or forgotten,” Yang Rohr said. “This Women’s History Month, we have an opportunity to speak with brave women from across our community and highlight a fantastic organization that is working hard to give back to the women veterans who have given so much to us.”

The Operation HerStory team raised over $170,000 to self-fund the all-women’s flight. They used grassroots community outreach to find women veterans from across the state and encouraged them to be part of the inaugural flight. These trailblazing veterans who made the flight possible continue to support Operation HerStory and uphold its mission of bringing women veterans out of the woodwork to make their stories known.

Operation HerStory has made it a goal to encourage Honor Flight Chicago to invite at least 20 women per flight instead of one woman veteran for every fifth flight. There are currently 46,000 female veterans in Illinois. Roughly 7,000 are from the WW2, Korean and Vietnam War eras, and are eligible for upcoming Illinois Honor Flights.

“Operation HerStory was created to ensure that each and every woman veteran was visible and able to tell HerStory of her military experience,” Narsete said. “Operation HerStory will continue to support any individual or organization who would like to uplift women veterans as they tell their stories of groundbreaking and historic service to our country.”

During the virtual panel, Ellman, Yang Rohr and Narsete will discuss Operation HerStory and hear stories from some of the women who participated in the inaugural flight. Questions about the panel can be directed to Ellman’s office at 630-601-9961 and SenatorLauraEllman.com, or Yang Rohr’s office at 630-296-4157 and RepYangRohr.com. More information about Operation HerStory is available on the organization’s website.

Narsete and her team are also inviting women veterans from across Illinois to march in the Beverly Memorial Day parade in Beverly, Ill. Interested veterans can reach out to Narsete at 740-228-1099 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

021022CT00036 rSPRINGFIELD – A measure by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) to create the Hydrogen Economy Task Force and establish Illinois as a Hydrogen Hub in the Midwest advanced out of the Senate on Friday.

“Through this legislation, Illinois has the opportunity to take the lead on a nationwide effort to spur clean energy and hydrogen generation,” Ellman said. “As a potential Midwest Hydrogen Hub, we can support our agricultural, refinery and transportation industries and create jobs for workers across the state.”

The Hydrogen Economy Task Force established under Senate Bill 3613 would be responsible for publishing a plan to create a Hydrogen Hub in Illinois, identifying opportunities to integrate hydrogen into the economy, analyzing barriers to hydrogen development, and recommending policies to catalyze deployment of hydrogen in the state economy.

Senate Bill 3613 is intended to put Illinois in a position to become a Clean Hydrogen Hub. Both the University of Illinois and Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill. have partnered with the intent of participating in the federal Clean Hydrogen Hub program, through which the Secretary of Energy must select at least four regional Hubs to prioritize opportunities for skilled training and long-term employment.

“Illinois residents and the surrounding environment will benefit greatly from a Hydrogen Hub,” said State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport), a chief co-sponsor of the measure. “I am proud to partner with Senator Ellman in bringing clean energy to our state and continue the conversation about environmental justice.”

The legislation now goes to the House for further consideration.

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Contact Info

District Office
475 River Bend Rd., Suite 500
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone: (630) 601-9961

Springfield Office
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-8192