The Iowa House has passed a bill designed to crackdown on the misuse of handicapped parking permits. Blue plastic placards with the recognizable wheelchair symbol in white are to be hung on the rear view mirror when a vehicle is parked in a designated handicapped space.
Representative Larry Sheets, a Republican from Moulton, says current state law allows people to get a temporary, six-month handicapped parking placard or one that never expires.
“This bill addresses the problem with non-expiring placards, that they continue well beyond the death of the disabled in the hands of children or grandchildren,” Sheets says. “Such misuse of these placards reduces the chance for a truly needy person from finding an available parking spot.”
The bill eliminates non-expiring handicapped parking permits, although those already issued wouldn’t be rescinded. If the bill becomes law, handicapped parking permits could be good for either six months or five years — and Iowans can always file for a renewal, if they have a doctor’s recommendation for the permit. Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, says this change is “long overdue.”
“We’ve all seen and experienced and watched individuals park in handicapped spots where they shouldn’t be,” Mascher says.
The bill is drafted to take effect on January 1, 2016. It passed the House on a 96-0 vote this morning. The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.