Lawmakers want new rules for parking permits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lawmakers want new rules for parking permits

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- It's an abuse we've all witnessed. A healthy looking person pulls into a handicap spot, runs into the store and runs right back out. Although they have a handicapped parking permit, you wonder if they really needed it.

Lawmakers are taking up this issue and are trying to find a better way to prevent the abuse of handicap parking permits. On Wednesday, the issue went before the house transportation committee and it appears moving forward, the bill would require people to reapply for this type of parking permit after five years. That would not take effect until January 2012.

In the State of Iowa there are 465,000 of these placards issued to 272,000 Iowans. With the number of Iowan's with a license at 2.5 million, it means roughly one out of nine people driving have one hanging in their car.

Those numbers have lawmakers talking.

"Once you get a permanent permit in Iowa it's good forever. My mother died in 1997 that permit is still good today if I hadn't cut it up," said Representative Jim Lykam of Davenport.

Dorothy Ackerson has arthritis and after 15 surgeries she is able to get around without her walker, but she needs to park close just in case her joints give out.

"I can't determine if someone is ill or not but something makes me think if you're grabbing two kids and running in the store grabbing something and coming back out and I've just got my legs out, I think that might be an abuse," said Ackerson.

Ackerson also says this is an issue that will continue to be a problem unless lawmakers take action.

"We have the baby boomers coming up and we have men coming back from war, men and women coming back from war... So many men, so many women, so wounded and they're going to need these stickers and it isn't going to be for a week or day or a month. They're going to need them for life and we don't need the people who are misusing them misusing them," said Ackerson.

To apply for a Person's with Disabilities Parking Permit, you have to meet certain requirements. They include not being able to walk 200 feet without taking a rest, using portable oxygen, and not being able to walk without the assistance of a crutch, wheelchair, or other assistive device.

 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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