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State of Michigan Approves Update to Parking Signs for People with Disabilities

changing signs changing minds shows the old handicapped accessible logo with the new logo - a wheelchair user in motion - in white against a blue background

LANSING—Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law House Bills 4075 and 4076, sponsored by State Rep. Beau LaFave. The new laws update signs used to designate parking spaces for people with disabilities. Specifically, Public Acts 182 and 183 of 2022 will establish a design that better represents those who use wheelchairs or need mobility assistance, as well as remove the word “handicapped” from the sign.

Disability Network of Mid-Michigan (DNMM), one of 15 Michigan centers for independent living whose members advocate for people with disabilities by promoting accessibility and inclusion, has worked for with others in the network for several years to address the current design, adopted in 1969.

The new design better represents independence by depicting a more active person in a wheelchair. In addition, removing the word “handicapped” and using “reserved” limits the perpetuation of antiquated and offensive language used when referring to people with disabilities.

Businesses are not required to replace their signs immediately. Instead, businesses must use the updated signs when they are placing new or replacing current signs. Therefore, there are no new or additional costs to Michigan’s businesses.

The Governor’s signature comes one day before the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities.

“As we celebrate the anniversary of the ADA we are reminded that advocating for people with disabilities did not end when the ADA was signed into law,” said Kelly PeLong, Executive Director of DNMM. “We continue working with businesses, legislators, and individuals to create accessible and inclusive communities where everyone can live, work, and play.”

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