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,Telephone601-362-9599/1-800748-9420 (Voice or TDD November 30, 1993 Honorable Thad Cochran U.S. Senate 326 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Dear Senator Cochran: We are in need of your assistance regarding a matter of great interest to a significant sector of the disability community in Mississippi. I have been advised that a determination is needed from the U.S. Department of Justice related to an apparent conflict between state and federal law. Specifically, we need a determination pertaining to the color used to designate handicapped parking spaces. State Law -- Section 27-19-56, Mississippi Code of 1972 as amended -- (see attached) specifies that, in order to enforce the handicapped parking restrictions, the curb and striping of such parking spaces "shall be blue for easy identification." Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) do not specify the color of the spaces. Consequently, many businesses assert that since they are in compliance with the requirements outlined in the ADAAG, they do not feel compelled to, in accordance with state law, paint the spaces blue. As a result, in some localities, law enforcement officials are unwilling to write tickets on vehicles misusing handicapped parking spaces if the markings aren't blue. Furthermore, some judges have even thrown out tickets that were written in such circumstances. It is our understanding that, regarding the A.D.A., if state law is deemed to be strenghening or furthering the impact of the provisions of that federal law, the
state law would supersede the federal requirements Certainly, it is our opinion that the state law should take precedence since we feel it "strenghens" the impact of the handicapped parking requirements by making the spaces more visible and definable.
01-02933 Page 2 - November 30th Letter to Senator Cochran To begin addressing this quandary, we consulted representatives of relevant state and federal entities and were apprised that we need a written determination from the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve the question. Due to the fact that, if the state law would have to be changed, it could most expediently be addressed In the upcoming session of our Legislature, a timely decision on this issue is needed. Therefore, we would appreciate your assistance in procuring a formal determination in this matter from the proper official within the U.S. Department of Justice. If that federal agency concurs with the dictates of the state law, and, thus, issues a statement that the blue colored markings would supercede the ADAAG, or otherwise be an addendum to those requirements, we would then use that statement in notifying relevant businesses about the need to paint the spaces blue. If the agency does not concur, we will inform the Legislature and advocate for suitable changes to the state law to eliminate the conflict. As always, if you have questions at need additional information regarding this request, please do not hesitate to contact me by calling 601-362-9599. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter. Sincerely,
Executive Director cc: Michele Bahret, President Donald Sykes Caryn Quilter Christene Woodell