House Public Transportation

Jan. 17, 2023

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House Bill 1086: Disabled veteran tags no longer cover handicapped spaces by default (passed)


Rep Holcomb: Good morning, committee. Chair sees a quorum. We’ll call the meeting to order. Members, be sure to use your mics. I want to also remind you that this coming Thursday, 10 o’clock, we will have a committee photo. So try to be here just a few minutes early before 10:00 if you can so we can get the photograph. And anyone that’s not here, please advise them, because I know everyone wants to be in the photograph. So that’s 10 o’clock Thursday morning, right here in Mac B. Okay. Looking at the agenda, with no objections, we’re going to move to House Bill 1086. Representative Berry, if you’re ready, go ahead and present your bill. If you’re here to speak for or against the bill, make sure you sign the list to allow us to know. Representative Berry, you can begin when you’re ready.


House Bill 1086: Disabled veterans tags

Rep M Berry: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, committee. Representative Mark Berry, District 26. Mr. Chairman, this bill, House Bill 1086, is amending a bill that allows disabled veterans parking privileges. And there were some unintended consequences when the original bill was drafted. And what it boils down to is the law right now permits veterans with a disabled veteran tag to park in handicap spots if they have 30% disability or more. Well, I’m a disabled veteran. I am 80% disabled, because I lost my eyesight in Guatemala in one eye and some other injuries while on active duty. But it does not limit my mobility. So the problem being is that you have individuals that have diabetes, that may have a hysterectomy, that may have range of motion issues, but they’re not handicapped. So I look at my colleague, Josh Miller, who is paralyzed. And many times there is an individual that works in the State Capitol that parks in a handicapped spot in the morning and runs up the stairs because he has a disabled veteran tag on his vehicle. It’s not right. And I think we owe it to the citizens of Arkansas that everyone, if you’re handicapped and you have mobility issues, park in handicapped spots.


Rep M Berry: But what this bill will mandate– it’s not cheating anybody out of a disabled veteran tag. What it’s going to require those individuals, if they want a handicap tag because they have mobility issues, to follow the same guidelines and procedures as every other Arkansan in the state of Arkansas in order to get that handicapped placard. And they hang it on their mirror. Now my colleague Representative Collins is going to be running a bill. It’s a companion bill that will allow all disabled veterans, even 10% disabled by the VA, as a recognition of being a disabled veteran. I have no problem with that. Where I have the problem is disabled veterans who do not have mobility issues like myself to park in handicap spots. So with that, Mr. Chairman, I’d be happy to take any questions.


Rep Holcomb: Any questions from the committee? Seeing none, anyone here to speak for or against the bill? Representative Berry, you may close.


Rep M Berry: I’m closed for my bill and I would ask for a do pass.


Rep Holcomb: Okay. I have a motion do pass. Do I have a second? I’m sorry. All in favor say aye. Any opposed, same like sign. Hearing none, congratulations. Your bill passes.


Rep M Berry: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks, committee.


Rep Holcomb: Okay, committee. Representative Pilkington, Representative Gonzalez, and Representative Collins. I don’t see any of those here. Looks like that does our business today. Be sure and remember the photo Thursday. Okay. This committee stands adjourned.