February 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Lawmakers seek crackdown on fake, expired handicapped parking passes
OLYMPIA — We’ve all seen it: a car bearing a handicapped parking permit slides into a plum parking spot, and out jumps a clearly, physically able person.
Now, two state lawmakers are channeling the outrage.
State Reps. Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdal, both Thurston County Democrats, this week introduced a bill that would require handicapped parking placards to prominently display an expiration date. Using an expired permit would result in a $250 fine.
House Bill 1946 would also direct the state Department of Licensing to form a work group to look into how to reduce abuse of disabled parking passes.
“There are people who evidently are hiding the expiration date, or messing with the expiration date, or using somebody else’s placard,” Hunt said. “This is to cut back on abuse.”
Hunt said the bill is based off of complaints from the Lacey Police Department and the city of Seattle.
As of 2010, nearly 375,000 Washington state residents and organizations were authorized to use the placards, which allow drivers to park for free in designated disabled spaces and in pay parking areas. Hundreds of thousands of inactive permits may be in circulation, according to the city of Seattle.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in the House Transportation Committee.
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