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Parking signs for people in Michigan with disabilities updated under bills signed by Whitmer

courtesy of Disability Network Michigan
The state of Michigan will now use the "go logo" for parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.

Parking signs in Michigan for people with disabilities are getting a new update, doing away with language and a logo that advocates say is outdated.

The update comes after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two bills into law, House Bill 4075 and 4076. The new signs replace the word “handicapped” with “reserved” and change a stationary logo of a person in a wheelchair to a more active wheelchair user.

“The new design helps cut down on the perception that someone is stationary in life when they’re in a wheelchair, and it’s quite the opposite,” said Teri Langley, a spokesperson for Disability Network Michigan.

Langley said while these changes may seem minimal, they’re significant for the disability community. She said although the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed in 1990, that doesn't mean society should become complacent.

“This change in parking signs represents the change in beliefs and the change in attitudes toward people with disabilities,” she said. "We're no longer going to use the word 'handicapped' because it doesn't mean today, what possibly it meant when it was created, we're using words to define our abilities and not our disadvantages."

As for other signage that includes the original logo, like parking passes and painted parking spaces, Langley said that’s another change the network is working on.

“We will work with the Secretary of State’s office here in Michigan to hopefully get a very standard design instead of having more than one design,” she said.

Langley said the Secretary of State already uses the updated dynamic logo, often referred to as the “go logo,” on parts of its website and sees that as a positive sign.

Businesses aren’t required to replace current signage, but should they need new ones, they will have to use the updated sign. Langley noted the network has seen a lot of businesses already using the updated sign prior to the bills’ passage.

With the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the ADA this week, Langley applauded the legislature and the governor for passing the bills and continuing to make changes for people with disabilities.

“We truly believe that their work to get these bills done reflects the belief that every person here in the state of Michigan has, that is, we’re constantly moving forward, and we shouldn’t be complacent based on old laws,” she said.

Melorie Begay is WKAR-FM's weekend host and a general assignment reporter.
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