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New Bill Could Bring Free Handicapped Parking Back to Those Who Need ItA new bill is headed to the Governors desk after passing both houses in Illinois. The House Bill 5624, sponsored by Rep. Karen May and Sen. M. Maggie Crotty, is meant to improve the current state of affairs of handicapped parking.
The bill consist of two significant changes. The first would make handicapped parking a two-tiered system, free and paid handicapped parking. Persons who would be given free parking would be those who would experience significant difficulty using parking meters. They would have to meet one of the following criteria.
- Manage, manipulate, or insert coins in parking meters due to a lack of fine motor control of both hands;
- Reach above his or her head to a height of 42 inches from the ground due to a lack of finger, hand, or upper extremity strength;
- Walk more than 20 feet due to an orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular, or lung condition in which the degree of debilitation is so severe that it almost completely impedes the ability to walk.
"The intent of this legislation is to improve access to parking for those who lawfully use disability placards and plates and to prevent future abuses.", said May.
The second part of the bill would institute much larger fines for Handicapped Placard Abusers and increase for each offense. First-time offenders would receive a $600, $750 for the second and $1000 for the third.
"This measure will not only increase penalties, it also acts as a deterrent for those who are providing false information that allows them to receive a parking permit," Crotty said.
The bill passed both houses and is now headed to the Governor.
New Graduate School for Global Inclusion and Social Development of Persons with Disabilities - UMass