A bipartisan measure requiring gas pumps statewide to display accessibility information for people with disabilities is quickly making way through the Florida Legislature.
HB 185 and SB 1184, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mark Danish and Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, are patterned after a Hillsborough County ordinance effective January 1, 2012.
If passed, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be required to confirm, during normal inspections that a blue accessibility decal is on each gas pump.
The decal must be a minimum of 15 square inches, with the international symbol of accessibility and the words “Call for Assistance,” and have the phone number for the station.
“Hillsborough County has a model ordinance and we look forward to making it a statewide law,” Danish said. “This is a cost effective option that will assist countless persons with disabilities across the state who struggle to refuel their gas.”
Several organizations support the initiative, including the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, Paralyzed Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans and the AARP.
“The new ordinance fills in a big gap in the federal law,” Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman told the Tampa Tribune after the ordinance passed in 2012. Some stations do nothing at all, she added, leaving handicapped drivers forced to resort to “honking, waving their handicapped cards trying to get attention.”
HB 185 passed its final committee stage in the House Regulatory Affairs Committee on Thursday; the next step is a consideration by the full House.