- Introduced -

SB 343 - This act revises the procedures relating to disabled license plates and placards and the use of designated disabled parking spaces.

The Director of the Department of Public Safety is authorized to promulgate rules to allow persons to issue citations to vehicles violating disabled parking provisions. A person desiring to issue citations must submit an application to the director and be certified. The Director of Public Safety, in conjunction with the Missouri Supreme Court, will also prescribe the forms for the issuance of citations. A person issuing a citation is required to forward a copy of the citation to the Director of Public Safety and the Director of the Department of Revenue. The Director of the Department of Public Safety shall forward a copy of the citation to the appropriate prosecuting attorney for prosecution.

Physicians or health care practitioners will be guilty of a Class D felony if they issue, sign, or furnish a physician's statement or certificate to enable a person to obtain disabled license plates or windshield placards for any person who does not meet established conditions required by law or if there is no basis for a diagnosis, or state a condition or diagnosis which is outside the scope of the provider's license. Under current law it is a Class C misdemeanor for a health care practitioner to certify an individual for a disabled plate or placard if the diagnosis is outside the practitioner's scope .

This act allows other health care practitioners (chiropractors, podiatrists, and optometrists) to certify individuals for disabled license plates and placards.

Under this act, age, in and of itself, shall not be a factor in determining whether a person is entitled to a disabled license plate. The act establishes record maintenance requirements for physicians and health care practitioners who issue physician's statements.

Under this act, a physician's statement shall:

1. Be on a form prescribed by the Director of Revenue;

2. Set forth the specific diagnosis which renders the person physically disabled;

3. Include the physician's license number; and

4. Be signed by the physician or health care practitioner.

This act holds that an applicant for a disabled license plate consents and authorizes his or her physician to release his or her medical information to licensing boards, administrative bodies, law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys, and the courts to secure compliance with the law.

This act requires the physician who issues a statement for a disabled license plate to maintain certain medical records and documentation relating to the issuance of such statement. These records shall be open to inspection.

No more than two removable windshield handicap placards may be issued by the Director of Revenue to any one person. The director will be required to periodically check with the appropriate licensing boards to verify that physicians or other health care practitioners who sign physician's statements are duly licensed and registered. The Director must annually take steps to check with vital statistics to see if any person issued disabled plates or placards is deceased.

The Director also will be required to issue a certificate, bound in plastic, identifying the name and address of any person issued disabled plates or placards and the plate number or placard identifying number. If a disabled person has a driver's license, such certificate may be incorporated into and made a part of the license.

Any person issued a disabled plate or placard must present a new physicians statement every four years.

This act requires the Director of Revenue to annually check with the bureau of vital statistics to determine whether the holder of any disabled license plate or placard is deceased, and if so, take all reasonable steps necessary to obtain the return of such plates and placards.

Under this act, all existing disabled hanging placards shall expire on September 30, 2004. Thereafter, the Director shall no issue or renew existing placards unless the applicant provides a current physicians's statement. All existing disabled plates will expire as of its first renewal date which follows from and subsequent to September 30, 2003.

Under this act, a person who cannot produce the certificate which authorizes him or her to park in a disabled parking space shall be guilty of an infraction and shall be fined not less than $50 and not more than $300. If a person can later produce a valid certificate in court, the person shall not be found guilty of an infraction.