Within the Capitol Complex are reserved parking spaces for electric vehicles and disabled drivers, but Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, wants to add reserved spots for women expecting birth and parents with a newborn child.
Parents would not need a permit to hang from their interior mirror. Rather, Stuart assumes that people, “in the good nature of human beings wouldn’t take advantage of something like this.”
“A lot of these exist outside grocery stores and doctors’ offices and other buildings where people who, for whatever reason in their pregnancy, maybe need to park a little closer to access the buildings,” Stuart said. “A lot of times it’s a safety consideration, making sure that if something happens inside the building, they can get to their own vehicle quickly enough.”
A pregnant lobbyist approached Stuart amid the previous legislative session voicing her concern about the lack of such spaces.
Secretary of State Jesse White’s office arranges state parking and maintains the Capitol Complex; maternity parking spaces would be accommodated through its office.
“It’s a concept that we think is a very good idea,” said Dave Druker, a spokesman for White’s office. “It’s something we would like very much to work with Rep. Stuart on and some of the other governmental agencies involved.”
Stuart expects support from the General Assembly to get the bill (House Bill 4014) passed in the upcoming spring session.
“I spoke to the Secretary of State’s office prior to filing it to make sure we could be in agreement to how it would work,” Stuart said. “I have not reached out to the Governor’s office yet. I think given his support for maternal health care and other things makes me believe he’s going to be in favor of this.”
Druker also said the idea struck White as a “commonsense idea” that would be a continuation of his philosophy of giving pregnant women precedence, such as allowing them a special line at the Department of Motor Vehicles for priority service. He did, however, acknowledge that parking around the Statehouse is already at a premium.
Stuart would hope to see a maternal parking spot for all buildings within the Capitol Complex, but she admits that is not practical. “I want to make sure we have adequate parking for all people who need it,” Stuart said.
The Office of the Architect of the Capitol would evaluate where the most appropriate spaces would be, given the design of the Capitol Complex, she said.
The bill accompanies one of Stuart’s goals of protecting mothers in the workplace. She passed a bill that brought lactation rooms to the Statehouse, Stratton Building and Howlett Building, and another that requires employers to allow nursing mothers a reasonable paid break time to express milk.
Contact Kade Heather: firstname.lastname@example.org, (630) 945-7376, twitter.com/@kade_heather.
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January 12, 2020 at 08:53PM