Amanda Murphy files bill to make it easier for veterans to keep disabled parking permit

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Rep. Amanda Murphy wants to maintain Florida’s unofficial designation as the nation’s most-veteran friendly state. The New Port Richey Democrat this week filed a bill to make it easier for disabled military veterans to keep their disabled parking permits.

“This bill is just another common-sense way we can give back to those who have given so much to us,” said Murphy.

HB 51 is a companion measure to SB 132 filed by Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner. It would require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to exempt veterans who are deemed permanently disabled by a service-related condition from having to annually submit a certificate of disability to renew their disabled parking permit.

Veterans complain about waiting months for a doctor’s appointment at a Veterans Administration hospital or clinic. A scandal erupted earlier this year forcing the resignation of Secretary Erik Shinseki.

 According to a USA Today study 10 percent of all Veterans Affairs patients wait a month or more for an appointment. The Jacksonville facility was found to have an average wait time of 77 days.

Archie Scott is 61-years old and served in Vietnam and said he always has difficulties in trying to see a doctor.

“You might get an appointment,” Scott told First Coast News. “But then it might be prolonged.”

The Murphy-Joiner proposal cuts through the bureaucracy and exempts veterans from having a VA doctor certifying a permanent disability on an annual basis to renew a disable parking permit.

“This will help alleviate the burden on the VA and maintain the high standard of services we provide our veterans,” said Murphy.

An estimated 1.6 million Floridians are military veterans, the third highest population in the nation. According to the VA more than 250,000 Florida veterans are disabled.