The Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony Feb. 1 on a bill that would increase to $1,000 the maximum fine for a handicapped parking infraction.
LB438, sponsored by Omaha Senator Gwen Howard, would remove the current maximum fines for a first, second and third offense and specify that a fine of not more than $1,000 be imposed on an individual found guilty of a handicapped parking infraction.
Currently, the maximum fine is $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense within a one-year period and $500 for any subsequent offenses within a one-year period.
Under the bill, a judge could choose to fine an individual under the previous guidelines, Howard said, but providing judges the discretion to increase fines could deter individuals who continually violate handicapped-parking laws.
“All too often, a space is unavailable to a handicapped person who actually needs it,” she said. “The fine may sound steep, but when you break the law there should be consequences.”
No testimony was given and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.