|December 7, 2020 09:51 AM
|Representative Dan L. Miller
|All House members
|Replacing the word “handicapped” with “accessibility” for parking placards
|Words matter, and they matter with respect to disability rights and their advancement. For many people with disabilities, saying, using, or writing the word “handicapped” is at best outdated and at worst insulting.
In my office – like yours – “handicapped placards” or “handicapped parking permits” are commonly used terms. Many people believe this word has a negative connotation or is stigmatizing because it emphasizes a person’s challenges more than a person’s abilities.
While such placards and permits are not defined as “handicapped” in current law, Title 75 does not apply an “accessible” label to them and in fact uses “handicapped” in this section several times. My bill specifically defines such placards as “accessible parking permits” or “accessibility parking placards” and removes “handicapped” from this section of law entirely.
While it may take some time for society to stop saying “handicapped” placards, the state can surely join with disability advocates in helping to speed up this process.
Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” With 2020 being the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I hope you will agree and will co-sponsor this legislation.
Introduced as HB96