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Lawmakers Seek To Allow Certain Disabled Residents To Keep And Not Renew Parking Permit

Florida Channel

A bill that would make it easier for people with certain disabilities to keep their disabled parking permit passed its first committee Thursday. But, a group of lawmakers say the measure still has more changes in store.

Under current law, someone who’s classified as having “long-term mobility impairment” must get their disabled parking permit issued and renewed by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles every four years. But, Democratic Senator Arthenia Joyner says she wants to eliminate that requirement.

“I was motivated to file the bill by a person who is blind and a person who suffers a permanent disability that will never change, quadriplegic, paraplegic, multiple sclerosis," said Joyner.

"And, they indicated that they were demoralized by having to go every four years and say ‘well, I’m still disabled.’”

Both Senators Rene Garcia, a Republican, and Gwen Margolis, a Democrat, called the bill a good one, but say the measure needs some work, like an explicit description of what permanently disabled means.

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen this time and time again where someone says they have whatever issues they say they have and you see them walking out of the car and they have these decals, and I want to make sure the people who are using this pass really need it. So, if someone can help me with the definition of permanently disabled," said Garcia.

"Yeah, you need to tighten it up a little bit,” added Margolis.

Joyner says she’s already working with Senator Margolis on amending Senate Bill 94 and she’s willing to work with any other lawmakers who want to make changes as well. The measure passed unanimously in the Senate Transportation Committee on a 10-0 vote and has two more stops before it heads to the Senate Floor.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.