Knollenberg bill increasing access to handicapped parking permits heads to governor’s desk

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LANSING, Mich. — The state House of Representatives on Tuesday gave final approval to legislation that would allow physical therapists to issue handicapped parking permits to patients who meet certain criteria.

“To me it only makes sense that if a physical therapist considers someone’s mobility to be limited, they are able to issue the appropriate parking permit,” said Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy. “These individuals are highly trained to determine a patient’s physical abilities.”

Senate Bill 582 would amend current law to give physical therapists the same ability as physicians, physician assistants and certified nurse practitioners in determining a person’s need for special parking permits or license plates. Under the bill, physical therapists would be able to issue free parking stickers, disability parking windshield placards, plates and tabs.

An applicant qualifies for a free parking sticker if they have a valid driver’s license and use a wheelchair, suffer from limited extremity movement, or are unable walk more than 20 feet due to an orthopedic, neurological, cardiovascular or lung condition that dramatically impedes their ability to walk.

Knollenberg says his bill would cut regulatory red tape and allow better access to parking permits for seniors in particular, but also for those who have regular visits with their physical therapist.

“Some people visit their physical therapist more often than their regular doctor,” he said. “This bill would eliminate the need for an additional appointment with the patient’s primary physician and allow the physical therapist to issue appropriate parking privileges.”

SB 582 was returned to the Senate and ordered enrolled on Wednesday. The bill will now head to Gov. Rick Snyder for consideration.