By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
OLYMPIA – A nearly unanimous state House has approved changing rules for obtaining disabled parking placards and displaying them in vehicles.
House Bill 2463 passed on a 95-1 vote late Monday night and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Lawmakers hope the revisions will curtail abuse of the placards by able-bodied drivers seeking to enjoy the benefit of unlimited free parking accorded to vehicles with placards or bearing a disabled driver license plate.
However, before approving the bill, the House added language to allow cities and counties to impose some time limits on parking in their communities.
Under the bill, health care practitioners must provide signed authorization for a patient to obtain special parking privileges on “tamper-resistant” prescription pad or office letterhead. Current law lets them sign a standard application form and lawmakers think the change will reduce the chance of people forging their doctor’s signature.
The bill also requires placards be displayed so the serial number and expiration date are visible from a distance of 10 feet. Failure to do so could lead to a ticket with a $450 fine.
It also says if a person is found to have unlawfully obtained or transferred their placard, plate, tab or card, they could be forced by a court to give it up.