Because the Legislators Need Busy Work

True to form, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch starts this article on policy off with an anecdote:

Jennifer Bresee was infuriated by the note she found tucked beneath the windshield wiper as she finished shopping at Wal-Mart.

If you’re truly handicapped, you can get a license plate indicating such at the Missouri Department of Revenue license office. If you are merely enjoying the convenience of parking here at the inconvenience of a handicapped person, shame on you.

Bresee did indeed have handicapped plates. But the note’s author apparently noticed only how healthy Bresee looked as she got out of her car and walked into the store. Had the accuser waited a bit longer, the person would have seen Bresee limping all the way back to her car.

“I have multiple sclerosis, which is most times very invisible,” said Bresee, 26, explaining that even a short trip to the store can exhaust her and cause severe leg pain. “Many times, walking back out of the Wal-Mart you can tell, rather than walking into the Wal-Mart.”

So obviously, to make Jennifer feel better, the state must do something? I guess that’s the point the writer of this bit has in mind. However, the something that state legislators have in mind is the obvious: dial up the punishment for people who abuse handicapped parking privileges:

It also would make abuse of the privileges a Class A misdemeanor, punishable up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The legislation would impose the same penalty on doctors who write notes for people who don’t need the special plates.

The measure (SB 1144) was approved 30-0 by the state Senate this week and now awaits a House vote.

A year in jail for illegally parking. Thank goodness our legislators are finally making laws that make sense rather than making feel-good laws with which no person with a heart can disagree.