Illinois legislators hope to put the brakes on the practice of misusing disabled parking permits under two new laws signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Monday.
"For anyone to try and take those access points, access areas and zones that is not really qualified under law to do so, who doesn't have a disability, is really just plain wrong, and we want to do something about that," Quinn said.
The two laws deal with using parking placards originally issued for people who are deceased as well as free parking for drivers with disabled placards and plates.
"House Bill 5056 takes a no-nonsense approach to targeting and punishing able-bodied individuals who insist upon gaining an advantage by parking where they should not park," said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
That law makes the punishment a $2,500 fine and a mandatory license revocation for those who use the a disabled placard of a deceased person.
House Bill 5624 increases the fine for unauthorized use of a disability parking placard from $500 to $600 and increases the fine to $1,000 for creating fraudulent disability plates or placards, a fine that is not high enough for Illinois' secretary of state.
"We're looking at increasing the fine up to $2,500 for anyone who manufactures or makes up a fake placard," he said.
That new law also ends the policy of giving free parking to all those with disabled-parking placards, effective 2014. The new law will only exempt those whose disability prevents them from operating a parking meter.
In the same ceremony in which he signed the bills, Quinn also announced the creation of a subcommittee to examine parking for the disabled. That committee is set to be headed by Sam Skinner, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation.