Gas Station Proposal Could Throttle Local Law

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It could impact all of Florida's more than 9000 gas stations.

It could also put the brakes on Leon County law.

If a bill currently under review in the state house passes, every gas station in Florida would be required to post the international handicapped symbol on a sticker with a phone number a disabled person can contact for assistance.

In October, J. R. Harding was thrilled when the Leon County Commission voted to require gas stations serving 10 or more cars to install call buttons allowing disabled drivers to ask for assistance without leaving their vehicles.

However, a new state measure approved by a house committee Wednesday would make that law and other local ordinances void.

Harding told committee members the problem with the sticker plan is someone might not answer the phone.

Also he says if a worker is the only one there, he or she can't leave the cash register to help a disabled customer.

The Florida Retail Federation supports the sticker plan because members claim installing call buttons is too costly.

The bill's sponsor State Representative Mark Danish of Tampa says he's willing to potentially allow counties like Leon to keep their laws before the measure moves to its next committee.

State Representative Halsey Beshears of Monticello was the only committee member to vote against the sticker proposal.

By: Matt Galka
October 29, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - James "JR" Harding has been advocating for an ordinance to help disabled people at the gas pump for more than a year.

Tuesday night, Leon County Commissioners unanimously voted for an ordinance mandating that gas stations that serve 10 or more cars install a call button allowing disabled drivers to ask for assistance in pumping gas.

"In my entire driving career, I have not been able to get gas by myself. Here in 90 days, it'll be possible in Leon County," said Harding.

Commissioner Bryan Desloge didn't vote against the ordinance, but did ask the commission to consider that many gas stations only have one attendant. That could put them in a bind with these new call devices.

His other point had to do with the state legislature, which has a bill regarding disability gas pump help filed for this upcoming session. If passed, it would void local legislation.

Charles Roberts is a gas station owner. He agreed with Desloge in asking for the ordinance to be pushed back 180 days. He says if the state law is passed that the owners would be out of luck.

""We're out a hundred and fifty thousand bucks. The commissioners have spoken, and I'm going to be behind this and I went over there and told JR to come over to our plant and we will serve your vehicles just like a full serve station," said Roberts.

Harding said that the legislature had a similar bill up last session that didn't pass. He's hoping for the same results in 2014 so that the Leon County ordinance can stay in place.

By: Bailey Myers
October 8th, 2013

Tallahassee FL- Leon County Commissioners are working to make sure people disabled don't have any problems filling up at the gas pump.

Advocates and Commissioners have been working for months to get a new ordinance in place. The ordinance would mandate that gas stations with five or more pumps would be required to provide service for those who are disabled. Tonight the County Commission decided to move forward with this ordinance.

One local Disability Advocate J.R. Harding explained, "This is really exciting and I look forward to the October 29th hearing where it will either be voted up or down for implementation here."

On October twenty-ninth the Commission will hold a public hearing, in order to get an idea on how the public feels about this new ordinance. That is when they will decide to either pass it and put it into effect or not.

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