One new Wisconsin law concerning disabled parking goes into effect today and has many supporters, but also leaves some asking questions.
Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 824 into law by on Wednesday. As WDJT 58 News reports, the legislation allows,“local municipalities the ability to deputize any public employee to hand out tickets to those illegally parking in spots designated for the disabeled [ sic].” The authorized employee on the city, village, or town payroll can also have a car towed if the municipality’s ordinance allows. Enforcement by these designated public employees can take place at all times, not only during work hours, and in public or private parking lots.
With this new act, lawmakers aim to make it virtually impossible for drivers to illegally snag disabled parking spaces meant for those that really need them. It’s something that Benjamin Barrett, Chairperson of the Council on Physical Disabilities, couldn’t be happier about. He told the station, “You don’t know how frustrating it is to park in handicap parking or have to park off to the side and then see somebody coming running out and jumping in their car.” Still, some are wondering if allowing any public employee to issue tickets is the solution.
Larger cities in the state, like Milwaukee, have designated parking enforcement divisions to ticket violators. But in small towns, police carry that responsibility in addition to their other duties. Legislators hope that it will help those areas with fewer resources by giving them the ability to spread out that ticketing task. Barrett says, “That’s going to make a difference state wide. Number one, it frees up our police to do their job.”
Another bill signed by Governor Walker increases fines for illegally parking in handicapped spaces. The minimum penalty goes from $50 to $150.