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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Legislature orders airports to give disabled vets free parking - again



Disabled veterans will get free parking at all airports - this time for real - under legislation that passed the Florida Legislature and is now heading to Gov. Rick Scott for his approval.

The bill (SB 222) was inspired by a Sarasota County veteran who was denied free parking at Tampa International Airport, despite a bill passed a year earlier that appeared to grant disabled veterans free parking at airports. Veterans were only being given free parking if they had cars that had specialized equipment, such as ramps, lifts or hand or foot controls.

State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, said clearly the Legislature needed to clarify the law. Her bill requires airports to give free parking for all vehicles displaying a license plate for disabled veterans.

Florida has about 41,000 veterans who have the special disable veteran license plate. Disabled veterans license plates can only be obtained by drivers if they can prove they have a 100 percent disability designation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and can show they were honorably discharged.

Detert said the legislation is due to Sarasota County veteran Lou Hockel, who was denied free parking at Tampa International.

Tampa International is not waiting for the law to go into place. It has already changed its policies, and is allowing disabled veterans with the plates to park for free.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 12:57pm]


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