A license plate sticker would replace the familiar hang tag needed to park in handicapped parking spaces under legislation filed in the Capitol.
The bills (HB 1325, SB 1558) would require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to design a sticker with the “international symbol of accessibility” – a stick figure of a person sitting in a wheelchair – to be used instead of a placard that hangs on a rear-view window.
There had been confusion that those with Purple Heart specialty plates had to exchange them for disabled veteran tags to use handicapped parking spaces. Department spokesman John Lucas says that’s not the case.
Steve Surface, who represents the Dunedin chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, says Purple Heart plates are a point of pride.
“It means something,” said Surface, a U.S. Army sergeant first class. “It distinguishes us for the sacrifice we made.”
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who are injured or killed in combat.
By forgoing a hang tag for a plate sticker, the proposal would make it easier for wounded warriors who may forget to hang the placards or have had theirs stolen from their vehicles, said Surface, of Clearwater.
The department has not taken a position on the proposal, Lucas said.
The House bill has cleared one committee unanimously this session, while its Senate companion hasn’t yet been heard in committee, records show.