Thanks to the initiative of Self-Advocates at Favarh, HB 5050 – An Act Concerning the Modernization of Parking Spaces for People with Disabilities, passed both the House and the Senate today and awaits the expected signature from the Governor. With that, Connecticut becomes the second state in the country to both remove the word “handicapped” from parking signs and to change the static wheelchair to a more active, independent, and modern icon.
The measure is a ZERO COST bill which means the new signs will only be installed when existing signs need replacing and with new construction.
This change will create greater disability awareness, particularly around parking. The updated signs are eye catching and as they come online over the next few years, people will take notice. We hope that this leads to less abuse of those parking spots so that they are available to the people who really need them. Let’s face it, if we live long enough, every one of us will need accessible parking at some point in our lives. We all benefit from a more accessible community!
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. spoke in support of the bill Wednesday evening. “I want everyone to know that the symbols we use are very important and we understand that it is not a physical or mental condition that creates a handicap…it is peoples’ attitudes about the condition that create disabilities.”
This issue is important to Self-Advocates at Favarh because they understand better than most the power of misperceptions regarding the capabilities of people with disabilities. While the root of these misperceptions is most certainly ignorance, ignorance can be fueled by language and symbols.
Self-Advocate Lauren Traceski thinks that with this bill, “Governor Malloy is saying that we want to be known as the state of equal opportunity…the state that sees everyone, including people with physical disabilities, as capable, confident, and independent.”
All of Favarh’s Advocates and Self-Advocates want to thank the Governor, his staff, and all the legislators who supported our efforts to represent people with physical disabilities as capable, confident, and independent!
Governor Dannel P. Malloy
Jonathan Slifka, The Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community
Members of the Committee on Government Administration and Elections
Members of the House and Senate who voted in support of HB 5050
Thank You to everyone who supported this bill!