SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduced legislation to address the illegal use of disabled parking placards in cities across California. According to Gatto, there are approximately three million disabled parking placards in use in California – in other words, one in every eight drivers has one. While placards are most often used responsibly and for legitimate reasons, irresponsible and fraudulent placard use has become a significant concern.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto AB 2602 will force the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to proactively retrieve expired parking placards, require individuals to reapply for parking placards upon expiration, and allow local jurisdictions to charge motorists displaying placards for the cost of parking, as long as the city offers sufficient, genuine parking options for disabled individuals.

“California has been a leader among the states in providing equal opportunities to individuals with disabilities,” said Gatto. “However, there are people who are trying to game the system and are taking parking away for every person struggling with a disability.”

Multiple news investigations have caught swindlers in the Los Angeles area using placards belonging to friends and relatives, including a deceased relative and a disabled sibling. Other investigative reports showed hidden-camera footage of people fraudulently using placards at an airport, at meters in front of the gym they worked out, and of a man selling placards on Craigslist.

“AB 2602 will benefit the disabled by making sure that those who genuinely need a parking spot have access to one, instead of that spot being taken up by someone committing fraud on the system,” Gatto stated. “This is an important bill for making sure our parking system is fair for everyone.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Utilities & Commerce Committee and the longest-serving current member of the State Assembly. He represents California’s 43rd Assembly District, which includes Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank.