INDIANAPOLIS | A motorist parked illegally in a handicapped spot would face a minimum fine of $200 if legislation sponsored by state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, becomes law.
Senate Bill 387 increases the current $50 minimum fine and continues to allow local governments set a fine of up to $500. A Senate committee voted 5-4 Monday to send the proposal to the full chamber.
"If they don't have the common decency to stay out of the handicapped spot, then there will be more than a slight price to pay," Charbonneau said.
Several senators on the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee appeared to share the opinion of state Sen. Joe Zakas, R-Granger, who said $200 is a steep fine for someone parking in a handicapped spot while quickly running into a store.
State Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, suggested a $100 fine might be better. State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, said she dislikes the idea of a mandatory minimum fine.
Charbonneau, in seeming disbelief, said it's never appropriate for someone who isn't handicapped to park in a handicapped spot -- "whether for a minute or for an hour."
"My wish would be that we never issue a violation," Charbonneau said.
At least 220 Hoosiers were ticketed last year for illegally parking in a handicapped spot, according to Charbonneau.