Capitol Alert

Disabled parkers using ‘dead’ permits, look out

A disabled parking placard is displayed in a car window parked on J Street in downtown Sacramento.
A disabled parking placard is displayed in a car window parked on J Street in downtown Sacramento.

Using the disabled parking placard of someone who has passed on? A new bill aims to find you.

A California lawmaker announced new legislation Wednesday to rein in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ disabled parking program after a state audit found widespread abuse of the system.

The probe discovered that nearly 35,000 people with active DMV-issued disabled parking privileges as of June 2016 were likely dead. Some 26,000 cardholders were 100 years or older, grossly outnumbering the state’s documented centenarian population.

Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said he intends to amend existing legislation, Senate Bill 611, to carry out California State Auditor Elaine Howle’s recommendations to clean up the program.

“Taking unfair advantage of our state’s disabled placard program is an act of fraud,” Hill said in a statement. “We must ensure that the DMV is equipped with the tools to effectively oversee the program so that it properly serves disabled drivers and works to eliminate abuse of the system.”

The bill requires the DMV to crosscheck medical records with state health boards and death records with the U.S. Social Security Administration’s death database. The bill mandates that the DMV must complete quarterly audits of applications. It also says permanent placard holders have to reapply every four years and provide proof of their full legal name, according to Hill’s office.

The audit also found that the state was issuing too many replacement placards. In response the bill would limit placard replacements to two in a two-year period.

Hill attempted similar legislation, AB 2245, back in 2010. The bill was amended before its first policy committee to deal with aftermarket car horns.

WORTH REPEATING: “Racial profiling was wrong in 1942, and it’s wrong now.”

- Karen Korematsu, backing a bill to fund $3 million for educational programs about Japanese internment during World War II

FROGGIE MCFLY: It’s frog jumping time! Today lawmakers, their families and employees will line up on the east lawn of the Capitol for the annual competition. Participants scream, stomp and slap the ground to startle their froggy friends into the longest leaps. Judges measure the distance of three consecutive jumps to determine the winner of the Sacramento tradition. Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, will emcee the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. and kicks off the Calaveras County Fair & Frog Jumping Jubilee.

DRIVING HIGH: Long before California voters legalized marijuana, authorities have been seeking a roadside test to nab stoned drivers. Do they finally have it figured out? We’ll see today as the California Highway Patrol and Sacramento Police Department simulate traffic stops of drugged drivers using new testing technology on the east steps of the Capitol at 10:30 a.m.

MUST READ: The hits don’t stop for Cal Fire. Adam Ashton writes that a high-ranking chief kept his post despite a state investigation’s conclusion that he created a “disruptive” work environment.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna