(1) Any person who is a surviving spouse, whether remarried or not, or an ancestor, including a stepparent, a descendant, including a stepchild, a foster parent or a person in loco parentis, or a sibling of a person who died while in good standing on active duty in the military service of the United States may apply to the department for Gold Star Family plates in lieu of regular license plates on an application prescribed and provided by the department for any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, except for a motor vehicle or trailer registered under section 60-3,198. An applicant receiving a Gold Star Family plate for a farm truck with a gross weight of over sixteen tons shall affix the appropriate tonnage decal to the plate. The department shall make forms available for such applications through the county treasurers. In order to be eligible for Gold Star Family plates, a person shall register with the Department of Veterans' Affairs pursuant to section 80-414. The plates shall be issued upon payment of the license fee described in subsection (2) of this section and verification by the Department of Motor Vehicles of an applicant's eligibility using the registry established by the Department of Veterans' Affairs pursuant to section 80-414.
(2)(a) No additional fee shall be required for consecutively numbered Gold Star Family plates issued under this section and such plates shall not require the payment of any additional license plate fees and shall be permanently attached to the vehicle to which the plates are registered as long as the vehicle is properly registered by the applicant annually.
(b)(i) Each application for initial issuance of personalized message Gold Star Family plates shall be accompanied by a fee of forty dollars. An application for renewal of such plates shall be accompanied by a fee of forty dollars. County treasurers collecting fees for renewals pursuant to this subdivision shall remit them to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall credit twenty-five percent of the fee for initial issuance and renewal of such plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles Cash Fund and seventy-five percent of the fee to the Nebraska Veteran Cemetery System Operation Fund.
(ii) No license plate fee under section 60-3,102 shall be required for personalized message Gold Star Family plates issued under this section, other than the renewal fee provided for in subdivision (2)(b)(i) of this section. Such plates shall be permanently attached to the vehicle to which the plates are registered as long as the vehicle is properly registered by the applicant annually and the renewal fee provided for in subdivision (2)(b)(i) of this section is paid.
(3)(a) When the department receives an application for Gold Star Family plates, the department may deliver the plates and registration certificate to the applicant by United States mail or to the county treasurer of the county in which the motor vehicle or trailer is registered and the delivery of the plates and registration certificate shall be made through a secure process and system. Beginning on an implementation date designated by the director on or before January 1, 2022, if delivery of the plates and registration certificate is made by the department to the applicant, the department may charge a postage and handling fee in an amount not more than necessary to recover the cost of postage and handling for the specific items mailed to the registrant. The department shall remit the fee to the State Treasurer for credit to the Department of Motor Vehicles Cash Fund. The county treasurer or the department shall issue Gold Star Family plates in lieu of regular license plates when the applicant complies with the other provisions of the Motor Vehicle Registration Act for registration of the motor vehicle or trailer. If Gold Star Family plates are lost, stolen, or mutilated, the licensee shall be issued replacement license plates upon request and without charge.
(b) The county treasurer or the department may issue temporary license stickers to the applicant under this section for the applicant to lawfully operate the vehicle pending receipt of the license plates. No charge in addition to the registration fee shall be made for the issuance of a temporary license sticker under this subdivision. The department shall furnish temporary license stickers for issuance by the county treasurer at no cost to the counties. The department may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations regarding the design and issuance of temporary license stickers.
(4) The owner of a motor vehicle or trailer bearing Gold Star Family plates may apply to the county treasurer to have such plates transferred at no cost to a motor vehicle other than the vehicle for which such plates were originally purchased if such vehicle is owned by the owner of the plates. The owner may have the unused portion of the fee for the plates, if any, credited to the other vehicle which will bear the plates at the rate of eight and one-third percent per month for each full month left in the registration period.
(5) If the cost of manufacturing Gold Star Family plates at any time exceeds the amount charged for license plates pursuant to section 60-3,102, any money to be credited to the Nebraska Veteran Cemetery System Operation Fund shall instead be credited first to the Highway Trust Fund in an amount equal to the difference between the manufacturing costs of Gold Star Family plates and the amount charged pursuant to section 60-3,102 with respect to such plates and the remainder shall be credited to the Nebraska Veteran Cemetery System Operation Fund.